There are a number of ways to darken the tone of your skin including natural tanning, through exposing your skin to sunlight, and also via unnatural means like using sunbeds which emit ultraviolet radiation to produce a cosmetic tan. While these methods are included in the category of ‘real tanning’, there are also techniques of faking a tan in which special lotions, sprays and Melanotan injections are used to alter the tone of your skin.
And while this might look quite safe and seem to be a simple process there are many health issues of both immediate and long term tanning. In the traditional form of natural tanning, getting sunburnt is the short term issue, but it gets worse.
A person’s DNA can be altered in some cases which can result in mutations of the embryo, which can affect the hereditary traits a child possesses. The UV radiation emitted by tanning beds also carry the additional risk of having detrimental effects on the human body including, but not limited to: cataracts, cancer, premature skin ageing and a weakened immune system, especially in cases of prolonged exposure. The damaging effects of tanning beds are so much so that the WHO advocates avoiding tanning beds whenever possible.
Fake tanning can also result in a range of health issues. Although tanning lotions boost skin vitality, they come with their fair share of health hazards. Moreover, cosmetic packaging can be misleading as such products generally have a short shelf life and can prove to be very harmful if exposed to direct sunlight or under extreme conditions. They seem, however, safer than the alternatives, especially if lotions are used sparingly.
Another, somewhat controversial option is Melanotan. The idea behind it is an injection to make your skin turn naturally darker. However, Melanotan 1 and 2 are chemicals which are viewed by many doctors and medical experts as ‘unsafe’. Similarly Melanotan injections have been seen by some users to damage the immune and cardiovascular systems and have shown cancerous traits even if used in smaller amounts.
The amount of impact depends quite a bit on the genetics of the user but the question again lies in the fact that are you willing to take such a risk for simply tanning your skin colour? And although you might not necessarily develop such health conditions with minimal usage of natural tanning and lotions, the question still remains if all of this is actually worth it? Tanning has been seen and portrayed as being sexy by the Media. But looking sexy must never come at the cost of your health. You can make the decision based on your priorities. Though someone wiser than myself once said that good health is real wealth.