What exactly is tanning? Tanning is your body?s natural response that occurs when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UV) such as the sun. Exposure to UV radiation from sunlamps and beds can add to the total amount of UV radiation you can receive in your lifetime. UVA and UVB rays put out radiation which can cause skin cancer.
Tanning beds and booths basically imitate the sun. The sun emits three kinds of UV rays (the ones that make you tan). UV-C has the shortest wavelength of the three, and is also the most harmful. The sun emits UV-C light, but then it’s absorbed by the ozone layer and pollution. Tanning lamps filter out this type of UV light. UV-B, the middle wavelength, starts the tanning process, but overexposure can cause sunburn. UV-A has the longest wavelength, and it completes the tanning process. Tanning lamps use the best ratio of UV-B and UV-A light to provide optimal tanning results, with a lowered risk of overexposure.
If it takes you a while to get a tan outside, it may be easier for you to get the color you want (brown instead of red) by tanning indoors. You would need to start with a short exposure time, and increase it very gradually. However, if you NEVER tan from the sun, you will not tan from tanning lamps, since they emit the very same tanning rays as the sun does.
In order to build a tan, it is important to tan regularly. Don’t let too much time go by between visits, or your tan will begin to fade. You can tan up to once every 24 hours, but it is generally recommended that you wait at least 48 hours in between each session to allow your tan to fully develop in between visits. You can build up your tan by going to an indoor tanning facility three to four times a week. Once you have a tan, you can maintain it by tanning two or three times a week. Usually, you will begin to notice results after a few tanning sessions, but it may take a few weeks of regular tanning (at least three times a week) to get to the color you are looking for. If you are developing a base tan before going on a trip, you would want to start tanning about three or four weeks before you go.