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Sun tanning

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Sun tanning is the result of pigmentation that is produced in response to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation for the purpose of darkening skin color. There are many side effects to tanning such as skin cancer, and premature aging; if exposed to these rays frequently. Sun tanning can damage the skin, eyes, lips, hair, and many parts of the body.[1] Common effects from sun damage include dry skin, sunburns, actinic keratosis, and changes in skin collagen. Dry skin can lead to itching. A sun burn can cause painful blisters, as well as nausea and dizziness. Actinic keratosis tends to start off as a small patch of peeling skin, and is of a pink color. There are many ways to prevent affects from tanning, by applying sun block directly on to the skin when involving in outdoor activities, that may expose the skin to sunlight which penetrates harmful UV rays. Using a lipbalm with SPF can decrease the chance of chapped lips. Protective eye-wear or sunglasses, can prevent eye damge.[2]



There are long term and short term effects from sun tanning. Wearing sun goggles in tanning beds, or sun glasses in outdoor activities is important for the eye. Constant exposure to light will result in damage to the eye. The lens and cornea are greatly affected by constant sun exposure, or artificial sun tanning. The tissue of the eye can be damaged. There are many eye infections or diseases including cataracts, snow blindness, Pterygium and skin cancer which may form around the eyelids. These eye defects can be caused by sun tanning or artificial tanning.[3] A person with cataracts may have blurry or cloudy vision. They may even have pain around the eyes. A person with cataracts has a possibility to go blind. Cataracts can be removed, surgically.[4] A person with 'snow blindness' also known as photokeratitis, may encounter symptoms in the eye. Such as pain, tearing, swollen eyelids, a feeling of sand in the eyes, and similar to cataracts may be prone in losing vision. This can be cured, by a topical solution, which can heal the cornea.[5] When a person with pterygium is seen the cornea starts to grow uncontrollably. Which is also, seen as a cancer. This can be surgically removed, but can also leave the person partially impaired in sight.[6] Skin cancer around the eye lids, causes lesions on the lower eye lid or in the corner, under the eyebrow, and lastly near the face.[7]


Skin exposed to UV rays, at its peeling stage.

There are three main layers within the skin. The top layer, that can be seen on the human body is called the Epidermis. The epidermis, has many different functions for the body. It is made up primarily of Basal cells, Keratinocytes and Melanocytes- which give skin pigmentation. The part of the skin that a person may induce a tan or color to their skin. The middle layer of the skin, is called the dermis. It has collagen and elastin, nerve fibers, blood vessels. Potentially this is what holds the skin together. Elastin helps the skin prevent wrinkles. The dermis does many important things for the body, it even helps fight against infections! Lastly, the deepest layer of skin, is called the subcutaneous tissue. The inmost part of the skin is made of mostly fats, and holds the skin to the body. This also, protects the body from the cold, temperatures and serves as an insulator. The subcutaneous tissue, does many other jobs for the body.[8] Just like the sun, tanning is a mechanism the body uses to protect the skin from the sun or UV rays, which are penetrated by the sun or tanning bed.[9] Years later, aging and cancer may be a result of someone who excessively tans. Aging and wrinkles are more present in people who are darker skin toned may protect from aging to occur.[10] There is no pigment or melanin in the lips. It's difficult for the lips to protect themselves from the sun from UV rays. Symptoms to short term effects of tanning are chapped, cracked lips and can induce cancer.[11]

UV Rays

Radiation is measured by scientist in electromagnetic spectrum (EM). UVA rays, UVB rays, and UVC rays are the three main types of UV rays. Beginning with the longest wavelengths to the shortest amount of wavelengths. UVA rays insinuate into the deeper part of the skin, the dermis. UVB rays are shorter than UVA rays, and reach the dermis, which is the middle layer of skin. UVA and UVB rays can affect the skin by sunburns and can cause skin damage such as aging, skin cancer, etc. UV rays can be helpful to the body only when a person does not overly expose themselves to these energy waves. About 5 to 15 minutes a week will not be harmful, but more so helpful.[12] Light from the sun comes from energy waves (also known as light rays) each light wave can be drastically or differentiated. This is the reason all light waves are different, on different parts of the body. This is the result in why, different light waves have different effects on the diverse parts of the body. Light, is divided in to three different parts, the first is infrared light. This type of light includes radio waves, electric waves, infrared and short infrared waves. This light gives earth heat! Visible light, another of the three, produces illumination. This type of light is what creates colors that a person can see. For example red, yellow, violet and blue, these are colors produced by visible light. Lastly, there are ultra violet lights, which is also abbreviation in to UV rays. There are three different forms of UV rays. These lights have waves of energy. Unlike visible light, UV light (rays) are not visible, except to the presence of tan or burnt epidermis on the human body.[13]

Skin Cancer


Any person who is exposed to frequent UVA and UVB rays (found in tanning beds) it naturally comes from the sun. They may be likely to have skin cancer versus someone who doesn't expose themselves of these harmful rays. These artificial sun rays are also found in the penetration of the sun. Records from the National Cancer Institute in the US show that more than one million people are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States every year. However, people with fair skin, and have less melanin in their skin are at the highest risk of skin cancer. Or even people who are closely related to others who have fought this disease themselves. Skin cancer in the legs, is more generally seen in woman. As skin cancer found in male, it generally found on their backs.[14]


Skin that was exposed to, too much UV rays, from sunlight.

Skin that is sunburned may be classified as reddish, itchy, warm, peeling, and painful. Newly formed skin cells are much more delicate than old dead cells, on the upper layer of the skin, the epidermis. To help the skin heal a sunburned skin penetrates melanin; causing the skin to darken. A sunburn is a short term affect. As a person ages with time skin changes as well, and can be less efficient.[15] Depending on the amount of melanin found in a persons epidermis(pigmentation) plays a big role on how likely a person is to receiving a severe or moderate burn. From the sun or in a tanning bed. A person that has less melanin, are more likely to have inflammation to their skin, which is initially known as a sunburn.[16] Wearing cosmetics or perfumes/cologne can sometimes cause skin to burn more readily, than without.[17] Tanning is seen as the natural process of the human skin, it's the reply to exposure to sunlight and sun rays. Tanning is a known natural defensive apparatus of the bodies skin, the skin is trying to defend itself from overexposure to UVA and UVB rays.[18]

Melanoma skin cancer

This slide shows a melanoma on a patient's skin.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, which develops in the melanocytes. Melanoma can be visible in the skin, in a dark brown or black hue. But can also, have no color whatsoever. This type of skin cancer, is ultimately one of the most dangerous skin cancers. The legs, face, back, and trunk are the most triggering places where melanoma cancer can occur in men and woman. However, this cancer can appear on any area of skin. It is less likely for this cancer to occur in the eyes, vagina, or mouth, but can. This cancer is curable if caught early on like many other diseases, and if not can eventually spread to other parts of the body.[19] Melanocytes produce melanin, which impacts the skins color change. There is an increase in developing this cancer with increase of age, many diverse age groups are capable of encountering this disease. The cancer cells are found in places near lymph nodes.[20] There are a few distinct treatments for helping cure melanoma skin cancer. Which are chemotherapy, biological therapy, radiation therapy, or surgery.During chemotherapy a drug to treat the cancer, is inserted into the bloodstream. So that it may reach throughout the entire body. Not only can it be inserted through the mouth, but also through an injection. Biological therapy is when a doctor or physician works with the patients immune system. Large quantities of cytokines are produced in labs by doctors and inserted in the patient. Cytokines are normally produced by the body, and its 'goal' is to fight infections or bacteria in the body. During a radiation treatment for melanoma, a device is directed to the patients body and penetrates high-energy rays to kill cancer cells that are found in the body. During a surgical treatment, the doctor will usually remove the tumored area with tissue that is around it, to decrease the expectancy of cancer cells spreading. This is a more popular way patients and doctors help cure melanoma in a patient with this present.[21] In the United States people with melanoma increases more and more each year. There are 47,700 new cases and 7,700 deaths most likely to occur this year.[22]

The Bible and Tanning

"Saying, 'If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.'" - Exodus 15:26

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." - 1_Corinthians 6:19-20

God died on the cross for our sins, and we are part of the cross and the building of his church. Every person on the earth has the blood of the lamb within them. God was wounded, tortured, and murdered so that we may have life and are able to live. God gave us a healthy body and we are to keep it healthy. We are to honor God with everything we have (as well as our bodies). God has given us a great gift and we are to take care of it and keep it clean and holy. Our body is the temple of the lord, this body does not pertain to us, it pertains to God, so we must love our bodies and take good care of them. Tanning can eventually lead to cancerous and disease. It can cause damage to the skin, eyes, lips, and more. God wants us to be healthy, and not suffer. Moderate tanning is not a sin, but when you put your body at risk to put your body in harm with ultra violet rays constantly it can damage yourself. So, God teaches us in the bible to take care of the body he gave us, for it is the only body we will ever have.

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  1. Croy, T. (2007, September 24). The Affects of a Tanning Bed on Lips. Retrieved December 28, 2009, from­Affects-­of-­a-­Tanning-­Bed-­On-­Lips&id=749674
  2. Sun damaged skin website Bethesda, MD, March 2, 2005.
  3. Eye damage from tanning beds website unknown author, All Tanning Beds, unknown date.
  4. The risks of tanning website FDA, U.S and Drug Administration, August 8, 2007.
  5. ibid.
  6. Eye damage from tanning beds website unknown author, All Tanning Beds, unknown date.
  7. ibid.
  8. Sun Tanning Effects on Skin website, Meridith Van Haven, Nutra Legacy, October 6,2008.
  9. 10 things you oughta know about tanning booths website unknown author, Teen advice, unknown date.
  10. Dark side of tanning website author unknown, American Academy of Dermatology, date unknown.
  11. Croy, T. (2007, September 24). The Affects of a Tanning Bed on Lips. Retrieved December 28, 2009, from­Affects-­of-­a-­Tanning-­Bed-­On-­Lips&id=749674
  12. The risks of tanning website FDA, U.S and Drug Administration, August 8, 2007.
  13. Sun Tanning Effects on Skin website, Meridith Van Haven, Nutra Legacy, October 6,2008.
  14. Artificial Tanning Booths and Cancer website, National Cancer Institute, National Cancer Institute, unknown date.
  15. Sunburn - the "healing response" of the skin author unknown,, unknown date.
  16. Effects on skin website GCRIO, GCRIO, unknown date.
  17. Tanning beds Tips website author unknown, Life Tips, unknown date.
  18. Sun Tanning Effects on Skin website, Meridith Van Haven, Nutra Legacy, October 6,2008.
  19. What is Melanoma? website American Cancer Society, June 5, 2008.
  20. Melenoma website author unknown,, date unknown.
  21. Melenoma website author unknown,, date unknown.
  22. Dark side of tanning website author unknown, American Academy of Dermatology, date unknown.