Skin tanning is still a popular beauty trend, even though it came into vogue in the 1920’s. Coco Chanel was seen wearing a beautiful golden tan after a yacht trip to Cannes. The fashion designer sporting a tan began a wide-scale tanning fad, which has lasted even to today. Prior to this event, tanned skin was considered a mark of the working class, since only they would be out in the sun working all day. The wealthy upper-classes used hats, veils, parasols, long sleeves and gloves to retain their immaculate white skin. Ever since the trend, or accident, set by Coco Chanel, tans are no longer seen as a sign of the working classes, but indicative of the luxurious beach lives led by the rich and famous.
UV Light versus the Sun. Spending an hour in a tanning bed is NOT the equivalent of spending an hour in the sun. Many people feel this way and can consequently cook themselves. Approximately 15 to 20 minutes of tanning bed time is equivalent to 1 ½ hours lying in the sun. The ultraviolet light is much closer and penetrates deeper more quickly, getting the job done without the sun and in much shorter time. Also, tanning beds give the ability to have a seamless tan, without any swimsuit or clothing tan lines, because people have the option of tanning naked, which is difficult to do on most beaches.
Spray tanning. Spray tans came about after skin care specialists and dermatologists touted the dangers of both the sun and ultraviolet radiation. Do not use low quality spray tanning products. The Skin Care Foundation has ensured public safety by recommending only the use of tanning products with DHA as the active ingredient. Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, is a sugar derived from sugar beets and other plants.
If you have ever taken chemistry class, then you know that a catalyst is something which speeds up the chemical reaction, without changing the predicted products of the reaction. An enzyme in the body is a catalyst which speeds up chemical reactions in the body. A good example of this is the production of pigment for skin, hair and eyes. Pale-skinned blondes with blue eyes have much fewer of these enzymes, which means a much smaller amount of pigment. Dark-skinned brunettes or blackheads with dark brown eyes have many of these enzymes.
DHA acts as an enzyme on dead skin cells which are still attached to the outer layer of skin. This reaction turns the dead skin cells dark brown. Since we are constantly washing or scratching off dead skin, this temporary darkening of the outer layer of skin lasts for less than a week. Also, as with other tanning solutions, the tan does not appear right away, so tanning salons sometimes employ the use of darkening agents, such as bronzers. However, bronzers and the like can be washed, wiped or sweated off, ruining clothing and leaving ugly streaks. DHA is considered questionable as an all-over body spray, since it has not been tested concerning contact with eyes, nose, lips or inhalation.
There are many solutions for the person who would like an all-over tan. The results from UV light and the sun last much longer than a spray tan, but the health freak may choose a spray tan over potential harm from UV radiation. Whichever the case, do not use the tanning solutions for too long, or you will look like a blistered crab rather than a sexy, beach-tanned hottie.