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ADDITIONAL READING FOR INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS
For other uses, see Tanning (disambiguation).
For human tanning, see Sun tanning.
Sun tanning or simply tanning is the process whereby skin color is darkened or tanned. The process is most often a result of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or from artificial sources, such as a tanning bed, but can also be a result of windburn or reflected light. People who deliberately tan their skin by exposure to the sun engage in sun bathing, though there are also artificial tanning methods. Some people use chemical products which can produce a tanning result without exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Casual exposure to the sun has moderate beneficial impact, including the production of vitamin D by the body, but excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays has detrimental health effects, including possiblesunburn and even skin , as well as depressed immune system function and increased risk of accelerated aging. To avoid sunburn, most people apply suitable sunscreen to skin exposed to the sun, but others use oils to accelerate the tanning process.
Some people tan or sunburn more easily than others. This may be the result of different skin types and natural skin color, and these may be as a result of genetics.
The term “tanning” has a cultural origin, arising from the color tan. Its origin lies in the Western culture of Europe when it became fashionable for young women to seek a less pale complexion (see Cultural history below).
• 1 Tanning process
o 1.1 UVA
o 1.2 UVB
• 2 Tanning behavior of different skin colors
• 3 Avoiding tan lines
• 4 Sunless tanning
• 5 Tanning controversy
• 6 Tanning agents
• 7 Cultural history
• 8 See also
• 9 References
• 10 Further reading
• 11 External links
See also: Health effects of sun exposure
Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes in a process called melanogenesis. Melanocytes produce two types of melanin: pheomelanin (red) and eumelanin (very dark brown). Melanin protects the body by absorbing solar radiation. Excessive solar radiation causes direct and indirect DNA damage to the skin and the body naturally combats and seeks to repair the damage and protect the skin by creating and releasing further melanin into the skin’s cells. With the production of the melanin, the skin color darkens, but the UV-B in sunlight can also cause sunburn. The tanning process can also be created by artificial UV radiation, which can be delivered as UV-A, UV-B, or a combination of both.
There are two different mechanisms involved in production of a tan by UV exposure: Firstly, UV-A radiation creates oxidative stress, which in turn oxidises existing melanin and leads to rapid darkening of the melanin. UV-A may also cause melanin to be redistributed (released from melanocytes where it is already stored), but its total quantity is unchanged. Thus, the effect of UV-A leads to skin darkening, but this is only cosmetic since it does not lead to greatly increased production of melanin and therefore also to little increase in protection against UV-B, or protection against sunburn.
In the second process, triggered primarily by UV-B, there is an increase in production of melanin (melanogenesis), which is the body’s reaction to direct photodamage (formation of pyrimidine dimers) from UV radiation. Melanogenesis leads to delayed tanning, and first becomes visible about 72 hours after exposure. The tan that is created by an increased melanogenesis lasts much longer than the one that is caused by oxidation of existing melanin, and is also actually protective against UV skin damage and sunburn, rather than simply cosmetic. However, in order to cause true melanogenesis-tanning by means of UV exposure, some direct DNA photodamage must first be produced, and this requires UV-B exposure (as present in natural sunlight, or sunlamps that produce UV-B).
As noted above, the ultraviolet frequencies responsible for tanning are often divided into the UVA and UVB ranges, which will be discussed: Sunshine is free – it has no marketing department for its life-giving benefits. If a pharmaceutical company patented and sold sunshine, the public message we receive about it would be completely different. Instead, the professional indoor tanning community is the only entity in a position to challenge the $35 billion anti-UV industry’s total sun abstinence messaging. This explains why indoor tanning is under attack from this powerful coalition of industries who profit from the exaggerated and largely unsubstantiated anti-UV message.
The cosmetic dermatology’s powerful fear-based marketing message, which drives millions of customers into their offices, has helped grow their businesses by 320%. And the existence of the indoor tanning industry is competitive to dermatology’s multibillion-dollar phototherapy industry. Consider, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology:
In 1993, 873,000 phototherapy sessions were delivered in dermatology offices in the U.S. By 1998, sessions had fallen off 94 percent to just 53,000.
1. The cost of a single phototherapy session – which utilizes indoor tanning equipment in a dermatologist’s office – is nearly $100 per session, about 20 times more than an indoor tanning session. An estimated 1.5 million indoor tanning clients today successfully treat psoriasis in indoor tanning facilities.
2. If tanning salons were closed, the cosmetic dermatology industry would gain up to $5 billion in phototherapy sessions which would be charged to health insurance companies and the Medicare system. (According to dermatology’s own reports, psoriasis patients average 35 sessions per year at an estimated average of $85 per session.)
The dermatology industry is in a hypocritical position when it comes to indoor tanning:
Although tanning beds were initially brought to America by Friedrich Wolff in 1979 he soon patented his particular blend of phosphors (since expired) and began licensing the technology to other companies. Some of the early adopters of the Wolff technology include ETS, Inc., SCA, Sun Industries, Inc., Montego Bay, Sunal. Friedrich Wolff sold Wolff Systems to his brother Jorg, the founder of Cosmedico Limited, another pioneer in the tanning industry.
From their US introduction in 1979, sunbeds have been regulated by the Food and Drug Administration’s 21CFR 1040.20. This was amended in 1986 to include lamp compliance, warning labels and eye protection. This law was designed primarily to ensure that all sunbeds sold or used in salons adhered to a general set of safety rules, with the primary focus on sunbed and lamp manufacturers in regards to maximum exposure times and product equivalence. In addition, states have the opportunity to offer regulations for salons themselves, regarding the operator training, the sanitization of the sunbed and eyewear, and additional warning signs. For a comprehensive list of states with indoor tanning restrictions for minors and their specific laws, visit the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Several companies continue to license the Wolff name and use their lamps because of the name recognition, although this has steadily diminished over the years as other lamp builders have created lamps that are arguably as good as or better than Wolffs’.
Most modern tanning beds have not changed much from the original systems. The lamp technology and electronics have evolved over the years, but the basic “low pressure” tanning bed has not evolved. The original ballast systems used in the first tanning beds, both “European choke” and magnetic, are still in use today although there are now many other choices including electronic and high frequency. The lamps are still fluorescent type, using special phosphors that create a spectrum in the UVA and UVB range. Mostly emitting UVA rays. although there has been a great deal of advancement over the years to make the light spectrum they emit more “sun-like”.
The original tanning lamps were discovered by accident in 1903 by a German company called Heraeus who were developing lighting systems for the home and for industrial usage. These lamps were of the high-pressure metal halide variety. They discovered that the light that was developed for visible light purposes also emitted ultra-violet light. In the 1920s and 1930s Heraeus first started to market and sell single lamp, self standing tanning/wellness devices. The first high-pressure tanning beds incorporating more than a single high-pressure lamp were manufactured in the mid to late seventies by companies such as Ultrabronz and JK Ergoline and in the 1980s the first high-pressure units were exported to the United States.
These units require special filter glass to remove the UVC and the majority of the UVB that is emitted and are difficult to manufacture because the alignment of the lamps is more critical than in traditional low-pressure tanning beds. They are generally large units, with a padded area to lie on or an acrylic and 6 to 36 lamps in a canopy or canopy and bench configuration, the tanning effect is much deeper and requires only a maintenance exposure of about 2–3 times per month compared to every 48 hours for regular tanning beds. They are much more expensive to operate, thus more expensive for the user. Retail prices in the $20,000 to $35,000 range are common with individual sessions costing $20 to $45, depending on the market.
Tanning behavior of different skin colors
A person’s natural skin color has an impact on their reaction to exposure to the sun. An individual’s natural skin color can vary from a dark brown to a nearly colorless pigmentation, which may appear reddish due to the blood in the skin. Though subject to variations, ethnic Europeans generally have lighter skin, while ethnic Africans generally have darker skin. In 1975, Harvard dermatologist Thomas B. Fitzpatrick devised the Fitzpatrick scale which described the common tanning behavior of various skin types, as follows:  Avoiding tan lines
Example of tan lines caused by a tank top.
The wearing of clothing while tanning results in creation of tan lines, which many people regard as un-aesthetic and embarrassing. Many people desire to avoid creation of tan lines on those parts of the body which will be visible when they are fully clothed. Some people try to achieve an all-over tan or to maximize their tan coverage. To achieve an all-over tan, the tanner needs to dispense with clothing; and to maximize covering, they need to minimize the amount of clothing they wear while tanning. For those women who cannot dispense with a swimsuit, they at times tan with the back strap undone while lying on the front, or removing shoulder straps, besides wearing swimsuits which cover less area than their normal clothing. Any exposure is subject to local community standards and personal choice. Some people tan in the privacy of their backyard where they can at times tan without clothes, and some countries have set aside clothing-optional swimming areas (also known as nude beaches), where people can tan and swim clothes-free. Some people tan topless, and others wear very briefswimwear, such as a microkini. A recent innovation is tan-through swimwear, which uses fabric which is perforated with thousands of micro holes that are nearly invisible to the naked eye, but which let enough sunlight through to produce a line-free tan. Tan-through swimsuits offer SPF protection of about 6, and an application of full-strength sunscreen even to the covered area is recommended.
Because of the potential sunburn which can result from excessive exposure to direct sunlight, many people suntan in moderation and wear some clothing, including a hat, and use suitable sunscreen. From time to time they also sit in the shade or cool off in water.
Artificial sunscreen absorbs ultraviolet light and prevents it from reaching the skin. It has been reported that sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 based on the UVB spectrum can decrease vitamin D synthetic capacity by 95 percent, whereas sunscreen with an SPF of 15 can reduce synthetic capacity by 98 percent (Matsuoka et al., 1987).
A safe and effective method of sunless tanning is consumption of certain carotenoids — antioxidants found in some fruits and vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes — which can result in changes to skin color when ingested chronically and/or in high amounts. Carotenoids are natural, and unlike many sunless tanning products, are long-lasting. In addition, carotenoids have been linked to more attractive skin tone than suntan.
Carotenaemia (xanthaemia) is the presence in blood of the yellow pigment carotene from excessive intake of carrots or other vegetables containing the pigment resulting in increased serum carotenoids. It can lead to subsequent yellow-orange discoloration (xanthoderma or carotenoderma) and their subsequent deposition in the outermost layer of skin. Carotenemia and carotenoderma is in itself harmless, and does not require treatment. In primary carotenoderma, when the use of high quantities of carotene is discontinued the skin color will return to normal. It may take up to several months, however, for this to happen.
Carotenoids safe in chronic high doses
Lycopene is a key intermediate in the biosynthesis of beta-carotene, and xanthophylls. While chronic, high doses of β-carotene supplements have been associated with increased rate of lung cancer among those who smoke, evidence for lycopene’s benefit was strongest for cancers of the lung, stomach, and prostate gland. Lycopene is found in lung tissue and is valuable in protecting lymphocytes from NO2 damage found in lung cancer.
Lycopene may be the most powerful carotenoid quencher of singlet oxygen,
Due to its strong color and non-toxicity, lycopene is a useful food coloring (registered as E160d) and is approved for usage in the USA, Australia and New Zealand (registered as 160d) and the EU.
Carotenoids not safe in chronic high doses
A sunless-tanning product is tanning pills which contain beta-carotene.
However, chronic, high doses of synthetic β-carotene supplements have been associated with increased rate of lung cancer among those who smoke. This may be prevented by combining β-carotene with lycopene that is found in lung tissue and is valuable in protecting lymphocytes from NO2 damage found in lung cancer.
Canthaxanthin is most commonly used as a color additive in certain foods. Although the FDA has approved the use of canthaxanthin in food, it does not approve its use as a tanning agent. When used as a color additive, only very small amounts of canthaxanthin are necessary. As a tanning agent, however, much larger quantities are used. After canthaxanthin is consumed, it is deposited throughout the body, including in the layer of fat below the skin, which turns an orange-brown color. These types of tanning pills have been linked to various side effects, including hepatitis and canthaxanthin retinopathy, a condition in which yellow deposits form in the retina of the eye. Other side effects including damage to the digestive system and skin surface have also been noted. The FDA withdrew approval for use of canthaxanthin as a tanning agent, and has issued warnings concerning its use.
To avoid exposure to UVB and UVA rays, or in sunless seasons, some people take steps to appear with darkened skin. They may use sunless tanning (also known as self-tanners); stainers which are based on dihydroxyacetone (DHA); bronzers, which are simply dyes; tan accelerators, based on tyrosine and psoralens. Some people use make-up to create a tanned appearancewhile others may get a tanned appearance by wearing tan colored stockings or pantihose.
Many sunless tanning products are available in the form of creams, gels, lotions, and sprays that are self-applied on the skin. Another option is the use of bronzers which are cosmetics that provide temporary effects. There is also a professional spray-on tanning option or “tanning booths” that is offered by spas, salons, and tanning businesses.
Spray tanning does not mean that a color is sprayed on the body. What is used in the spray tanning process is a colorless chemical which burns the dead cells located on the top layer of the skin, resulting in a brown color. The two main active ingredients used in most of the sunless tanners are dihydroxyacetone and erythrulose.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of DHA spray tanning booths because it has not received safety data to support this specific use. DHA is a permitted color additive for cosmetic use restricted to external application. When used in a commercial spray tanning booth, areas such as the eyes, lips or mucous membrane are exposed to the DHA which is a non permitted use of the product.
A tanning bed
Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation is known to cause skin ‚ make skin age and wrinkle faster, mutate DNA, and reduce the immune system. Frequent tanning bed use triples the risk of developing , the deadliest form of skin . The US Public Health Servicestates that UV radiation, including the use of sun lamps and sun beds, is “known to be a human carcinogen.“ It further states that the risk of developing in the years after exposure is greatest in people under 30 years old. However, recently released FDA data suggests that indoor tanning beds emit 12x more UVA radiation than the sun and has been categorized in the “highest risk” group along with smoking tobacco.
Some researchers have advised that tanning in moderation may be healthier than is commonly believed. Edward Giovannucci, professor of medicine and nutrition at Harvard, states that according to his research, people who have sufficient vitamin D due to UV exposure, and other intake, may prevent 30 deaths for each one caused by skin . His research also suggests that diet accounts very little for vitamin D3 necessary for curbing .Michael Holick, former Boston professor of dermatology, claimed that moderate exposure to sunlight probably reduces risk to many forms of , diabetes, seasonal affective disorder, and other diseases. These researchers are vigorously opposed by most dermatologists, for example, Dr. Elewski, president of the American Academy of Dermatology, argued that minutes of exposure to sunlight can be dangerous, and that people can get all the vitamin D they need through supplements. Large clinical studies have found vitamin D produced both through exposure to sunlight and through dietary supplements dramatically decreases risk, and helps recovery. See Vitamin D for more details.
Several tanning activators are different forms of psoralen. These substances are known to be photocarcinogenic. Health authorities banned psoralen only in July 1996.
See also: Human skin color#Social status and racism
La promenade (1875) by Claude Monet. End of 19th century in the upper social class, people used umbrellas, long sleeves and hats to avoid sun tanning effects.
Throughout history, tanning has gone in and out of fashion. In Western countries before about the 1920s, tanned skin was associated with the lower classes, because they worked outdoors and were exposed to the sun. Women went to great lengths to preserve pallid skin, as a sign of their “refinement”.
Shortly thereafter, in the 1920s, Coco Chanel accidentally got sunburnt while visiting the French Riviera. Her fans apparently liked the look and started to adopt darker skin tones themselves. Tanned skin became a trend partly because of Coco’s status and the longing for her lifestyle by other members of society. In addition, Parisians fell in love with Josephine Baker, a “caramel-skinned” singer in Paris, and idolised her dark skin. These two women were leading figures of the transformation tanned skin underwent, in which it became perceived as fashionable, healthy, and luxurious. Jean Patou capitalised on the new tanning fad launching the first suntan oil “Huile de Chaldee” in 1927.
In the 1940s, advertisements started appearing in women’s magazines which encouraged sun bathing. At the same time, swimsuits’ skin coverage began decreasing, with the bikini radically changing swimsuit style after it made its appearance in 1946. In the 1950s, many people used baby oil as a method to increase tanning. The first self-tanner came about in the same decade and was known as “Man-Tan,” although it often led to undesirable orange skin. Coppertone, in 1953, marketed their sunscreen by placing a little blond girl and her cocker spaniel tugging on her bathing suit bottoms on the cover of their bottles; this is still the same advertisement used today. In the latter part of the 1950s, silver metallic UV reflectors were common to enhance one’s tan.
In 1962, sunscreen commenced to be SPF rated, although in the US SPF labeling was not standardised by the FDA until 1978. In 1971, Mattel introduced Malibu Barbie, which had tanned skin, sunglasses, and her very own bottle of sun tanning lotion. In 1978, both sunscreen with an SPF 15 rating as well as tanning beds first appeared. Today there are an estimated 50,000 outlets for tanning, whereas in the 1990s there were only around 10,000. The tanning business is a five-billion dollar industry in the United States.
In China, darker skin is still considered by many to be the mark of the lower classes. As recently as 2012, ski masks were becoming popular items to wear at the beach in order to protect the wearer’s face from the effects of the sun.
• Sunless tanning
• Tanning booth
• Tanning bed
• Health effects of sun exposure
• Skin whitening
• Sun glasses
• Tanning addiction
Benefits and risks
See also: Health effects of sun exposure
A tanning bed in operation
The benefits of artificial tanning are debated among the tanning industry and proponents of public health such as the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the European Union, several provinces in Canada, and states throughout Australia and the United States. The tanning industry identifies a primary benefit of indoor tanning is that it allows for a cosmetic tan in control and moderation by skin type and a timer that minimize the risk for sunburn and overexposure.
It has been suggested[by whom?] that tanning may be addictive and research provides contradictory evidence. In one study exploring the pathway of the tanning response, the production of ß-endorphin is produced in the same pathway, which could potentially contribute to the addictive potential of tanning. Another study concluded that there were no significant differences in the mean plasma levels of β-endorphin between people who were exposed to tanning beds and those who were not. The positive psychological benefits of tanning may be due to factors other than endorphins.
While the tanning industry identifies a tan that is developed in a tanning bed offers some protection from overexposure to the natural sun, an individual should not depend on it as their only protection. An indoor tan provides a natural SPF of between 2 and 4 (sun protective lotions are generally SPF 30 or higher). It is advisable to use the proper SPF’s according to skin type and sun intensity, even if a base tan is present.
A benefit claimed by the tanning industry of tanning indoors rather than tanning outside is the amount of control the tanner has. They claim that if a person decides to get a suntan and wants to minimize the risk of getting a sunburn, a tanning bed offers an environment that delivers the same amount of UV in a given period of time, day after day. In contrast, the amount of UV that reaches the ground can vary from minute to minute and the longer tanning times results in deeper exposure. However, there is no evidence that such control provides a safe or even safer environment. The FDA and the FTC forbid use of the words “safe” or “safer than” regarding indoor tanning. Despite the fact that the indoor tanning industry has been forbidden by the FTC from promoting any health benefits of tanning in its marketing due to a lack of scientific evidence, they still claim that indoor tanning offers a controlled environment to obtain a tan. However, there are a number of studies that demonstrate that indoor tanners are quite likely to get burned and suffer other skin damage during their indoor tanning sessions.
A frequently claimed benefit of artificial tanning is the increased production of vitamin D. Skin phenotype, as measured on the Fitzpatrick scale, influences the skin’s response to UV radiation. Fitzpatrick Types I and II (fair skin, eyes, and hair) burn easily and can produce maximal vitamin D photosynthesis in less than 10 minutes of midday sun. People with Fitzpatrick Types I and II are at the highest risk of photodamage (whether from the sun or artificial tanning) and are at the lowest risk of vitamin D insufficiency if photosynthesis occurs.
This includes Caucasian females who are most likely to visit tanning salons. However, the use of Vitamin D supplements provides a more reliable, cheaper and clearly safer way to obtain needed Vitamin D. High pressure tanning beds, which emit primarily UVA radiation provide minimal vitamin D production which require skin exposure to UVB radiation. Furthermore, individuals with skin type I (which do not have the ability to achieve a tan) should never use tanning beds, and the industry itself claims they recommend salons not allow those with skin type one to use indoor tanning.
In a research project funded by the United States National Institutes of Health and a grant from the UV Foundation, Tangpricha, V. et al. identified, “the regular use of a tanning bed that emits vitamin D–producing ultraviolet radiation is associated with higher 25(OH)D concentrations and thus may have a benefit for the skeleton.“ Michael F. Holick, an investigator in the study, declared a conflict of interest because he serves as a consultant to the UV Foundation. The UV Foundation garners financial support from the Indoor Tanning Association, OSRAM (a German lamp and lighting company), and Future Industries (a United States importer of tanning beds, tanning bed supplies, and lamps). Most scientists in this area do not agree with Dr. Holick’s conclusions.
The human body can produce up to 10,000 IUs of vitamin D in 10 minutes, as it can with exposure to natural sunlight. This vitamin has many benefits, and many people with indoor lifestyles may not receive enough. Most tanning beds use bulbs with the same UVB relative to UVA rays as the Sun and produce the same levels of vitamin D. High pressure tanning equipment, however, has a much lower ratio of UVB to UVA, and is much less effective for this purpose.
Indoor tanning beds may or may not be useful for the treatment of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It is plausible that the benefit that many SAD patients experience are more due to tanning causing them to feel good in general, rather than treating the SAD itself since tanning beds do not produce the wavelength of light needed for effective SAD treatment.
The Indoor Tanning Association settled with the FTC in January 2010 regarding false health and safety claims about indoor tanning. Contrary to claims in the association’s advertising, indoor tanning increases the risk of squamous cell and melanoma skin cancers, according to the FTC complaint. The association has agreed to a settlement that bars it from any further deception. “The messages promoted by the indoor tanning industry fly in the face of scientific evidence,” said David C. Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The industry needs to do a better job of communicating the risks of tanning to consumers.” The FTC complaint alleges that in March 2008, the association launched an advertising campaign designed to portray indoor tanning as safe and beneficial. The campaign included two national newspaper ads, television and video advertising, two Web sites, a communications guide, and point-of-sale materials that were provided to association members for distribution in local markets.
A sunbed (British English), tanning bed (American English) or sun tanning bed is a device which emits ultraviolet radiation (typically 97% UVA and 3% UVB, +/-3%) to produce a cosmetic tan. Regular tanning beds use several fluorescent lamps that have phosphor blends designed to emit UV in a spectrum that is somewhat similar to the sun. Smaller, home tanning beds usually have 12 to 28 100 watt lamps while systems found in tanning salons can consist of 24 to 60 lamps, each of 100 to 200 watts.
There are also “high pressure” tanning beds that generate primarily UVA with some UVB by using highly specialized quartz lamps, reflector systems and filters. These are much more expensive, thus less commonly used. A tanning booth is similar to a tanning bed, but the person stands while tanning and the typical power output of booths is higher.
Because of the adverse effects on human health of overexposure to UV radiation, including skin cancer, cataracts, suppression of the immune system, and premature skin aging, the World Health Organization does not recommend the use of UV tanning devices for cosmetic reasons. Most tanning beds emit mainly UVA rays — which may increase the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Misusing a sunbed by not wearing goggles may also lead to a condition known as arc eye (snow blindness). Occasional acute injuries occur where users carelessly fall asleep, as in the case of Marty Cordova.