Avoiding Burns While Tanning

Many people are turning to tanning as a way to improve their looks. It is a common belief that the glow the skin has when tanned helps to improve looks and maintain a youthful appearance. It gives the impression that you have the time to spend working out in the sun or laying out on the beach – luxuries often reserved for the rich and famous. However, while tanning can help you achieve the look you are going for, it also poses its own risks. Burning from both the natural sun and tanning beds can have severe and painful consequences.

However, there are some things that you can do to prevent being burned by exposure to the sun. One of the first things to look into is sunscreen. Labeled as sunscreen, suntan lotion, sun block, and other such terms, it can be identified by an SPF number clearly labeled on the bottle. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and the higher the number on the bottle the more protection that particular product can offer you. Sunscreen needs to apply on all areas of skin that are exposed to the sun, including the face. What most people do not realize is that it also needs to be reapplied frequently – as often as every 2 to 4 hours, and more frequently if you are swimming or sweating.

Sunscreen has its limits however. If you are out in the sun for an extended amount of time, or in the tanning beds for longer than recommended, you still run the risk of becoming burned. So it is important to be aware of the warning signs that a sunburn is occurring so that you are able to prevent it.

You can tell that a sunburn is happening because your skin will start to feel heated and will become flushed. When you notice this happening, you should get out of the sun as soon as possible to give your skin a chance to cool off and recuperate. If you cannot, covering your skin up with clothing can help prevent further damage. Lightweight cotton clothing works well, as does wearing a hat and sun glasses to protect your eyes and face.

If you do become burned after you day at the beach or the pool, a cool bath or shower will help reduce the pain. Aloe vera gel can also be applied to help the area cool and heal. Aloe vera can be reapplied repeatedly while the burn heals. If the burn appears to be getting worse or starts to blister, you may need to see a doctor.

While staying outside too long during the summer leads to a risk of becoming burned, tanning salons also can pose a risk. Tanning beds can be particularly dangerous for people who have never used one before or who are fair skinned. Start out with the minimal amount of time possible to see how your skin reacts. If you become burned, you will know that you need to decrease the amount of time the next time around. Do not return to the tanning salon while you are still burned, and avoid sun exposure when outdoors to give your skin time to heal.