Given our craze for that perfect skin tan, we tend to make presumptions about what kind of tanning is and is not good for us, which presumptions most of the time turn out to be fallacies. These fallacies are perpetuated and exploited by commercial vendors to sell their wares, which we buy and lap up and use, leading to the abuse of our body. The moral? Be aware of the right facts on skin tan, and remain healthy. This is the message conveyed by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) during its month-long campaign to spread awareness of melanoma and other skin cancers.
Fact #1 worth knowing about sunlight is that it has two types of UV rays - the first type is the UVA rays which pass through window glass, and they also pass through our outer sheath to reach to the innermost layer of the skin known as the dermis. These rays can cause skin cancer. The second type is the UVB rays which cannot pass through the window glass, and they have the power to cause sunburn. Ultimately, all types of UV rays are harmful; benign ultraviolet is a myth that you ought to discard into the dustbin the soonest.
Fact #2 about tanning is that the very concept is unnatural and harmful to the body. By indulging in tanning activity, you are deliberately and consciously damaging your own skin, which damage cumulates as time goes by. Not only do you, ugh, age faster, but you are more susceptible to skin cancer in the twilight days.
Fact #3 about tanning relates to the wares sold by vendors to give that extra special glow and color and feel to your skin, all of which reflect on their bank account to impart it a special glow. The indoor equipment used to acquire a skin tan emits both UVA and UVB, and they are in some cases stronger than the natural sunlight, strong enough to cause melanoma, which is the worst form of skin cancer. Studies conducted by the AAD suggest that this form of skin cancer is now being found in more and more females in the age group of 15 to 29. The reason could be their lifestyle: spending an hour or so lying under the quartz lamps every other day in the convenience of their home, just so to impress peers in the social circle - does have its hazards.
Fact #4 about tanning relates to the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) figure that sun creams come with. There exists no sun cream in the world that can protect the skin from UV by 100%. However, periodically applying sun cream with a higher SPF on the skin is a guarantee that a corresponding percentage of UV (A or B) will get blocked by the application and will not penetrate the outer coating provided by Nature.
The next time you head to the tanning salon to get that special tone and color to the skin, because everybody says it looks beautiful and hep and you look so different and warm, and also because everybody is doing it and you don't want to be left out but be part of the crowd --- you may pause to consider how you are playing into the hands of the tanning industry folks whose sole interest is to fatten their wallets at the cost of your skin. (This is with no malice towards the tanning industry folks, of course.)
[It is not through ignorance or following-the-herd alone that gets us into trouble. Calamity can strike in innumerable ways, leaving us shocked and rattled. Some of these calamities change the contours of our life forever: witness the numbness in the relatives of the passengers who died in an airplane crash that happened in your country, or the blank stare in the eyes of those whose houses were washed away by hurricanes with exotic names. We have come to take such incidents as given while journeying through life on this planet Earth; there's nothing new about them, today it is the victims who we see on television, tomorrow it might be you or it might be me. It is not the severity of calamities that matters however. It is how we handle ourselves while we are going through such incidents that makes the difference. Here is an article that talks about the different dimensions of appropriate conduct, howsoever be the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in: "Handling Adversity".]