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Is Tanning Healthy?
The Truth About Tanning
Tanning, the browning of the skin resulting from moderate exposure to ultraviolet light, is only now being properly understood as the skin's ultimate source of protection from a real danger-burning. Burning is the reddening of the skin resulting from over-exposure to ultraviolet light, and should be avoided at all costs.

If tanning truly provides protection from this danger, why then are people constantly being told to stay out of the sun? The answer lies in understanding sunshine.

The sun emits three types of ultraviolet rays. The shorter the ray, the more harmful it becomes. The shortest of the three, UV-C, is unable to penetrate the earth's ozone layer. Only UV-B and UV-A enter the earth's atmosphere, and of these two, the shorter UV-B is the ray responsible for burning. UV-A, the longest ray, is responsible for tanning.

Outdoors, UV-B can reach levels of up to 40 percent, making burning a very real possibility, even for darker skin types. This then poses a real dilemma for those who want to acquire a tan without the dangers inherent in burning-a dilemma that has been solved by the indoor tanning industry.

Indoors, tanning beds emit approximately one-tenth of the UV-B experienced outdoors, minimizing the chances of developing a sunburn and the negative consequences that accompany such a condition.

This is great news for those wanting to reap the positive benefits from tanning. Beyond its attractive cosmetic appeal, tanning in moderation has been proven to reduce the risk of developing breast, colon and ovarian cancers. Moderate tanning lowers blood cholesterol levels, strengthens bones and teeth, reduces depression, aids in weight loss, increases immune response and heightens physical performance.

If you still remain unconvinced about the desirability of a tan, ask yourself one final question:

Who ever heard of "tall, pale and handsome?"

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