Don't stay out too long for tanning

DUBAI - With summer in full bloom, nearly everyone wants a glowing tan - either naturally or through artificial means.

By Prerna Suri

Published: Sat 19 Jun 2004, 10:50 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:59 PM

But health experts warn that in the quest for looking good, many people may be unaware of the harmful and potentially deadly effects of UV radiation and skin damage which may be incurred by using cheap tanning products or going to a tanning salon.

"During summers, the effect of the rays of the sun is quite high and people should be more weary about staying out too long for tanning. Some of the immediate effects of staying out in the sun for too long are, burning of the skin, eruption of blisters and in some cases, ulcers are also formed on the skin's surface. Skin cancer is also more likelier among people who do not use sun protection or excessively stay out in the sun," said Dr Lilly Jose, Specialist Dermatologist at Zulekha Hospital.

A study conducted in Sweden proved that the use of tanning salons are a major factor in the development of malignant melanoma. Different people, all under the age of 30, were included in the study. The data concluded that the people who used tanning salons more than 10 times a year were seven times more likely to develop malignant melanoma than those who did not use tanning beds as often.

Surprisingly for many women, the ill effects associated with tanning does not seem to deter them from achieving a golden-brown tan. Said Mais Sartawi, a student, "I have started going regularly for tanning at the beach since the past two or three months and I generally apply some oil to protect my skin. I try not to be in the sun for more than half an hour and although I am scared of skin cancer, I still want my skin to be glowing and radiant."

Apart from natural tanning, many health experts are also warning against the excessive use of tanning salons, which they say, can lead to the development of malignant melanoma or skin cancer. "When a person goes in for a tanning treatment, a number of chemical products are applied on his/her skin which are potentially dangerous for them. During tanning sessions, the eyes of the user are never covered which may result in permanent damage. Although benefits do exist in choosing tanning beds over bathing outdoors in the sun, many tanning salons fail to mention many important and harmful risk factors connected with tanning equipment," added Dr Jose.

Apart from the long-term effects of using cheap tanning products or excessive tanning, a person's natural skin texture may also be affected resulting in loss of elasticity and a change in the colour.

Said a consultant at the Aesthetica Clinic located in Jumeirah, "Most of the tanning products available in the market contain harmful ingredients which may result in premature wrinkling and ageing. We generally do not advocate our clients to buy tanning products and neither do we encourage them to stay out in the sun for too long either."

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