The link between melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and tanning beds is becoming more and more evident. Over-exposure to UV rays is also a contributing factor to both skin cancer and the visible signs of aging. Even with the frightening statistics regarding skin cancer and tanning, those who prefer the look of a tan are less likely to embrace a lighter skin tone, and are less likely to give up their tanning habits.
One suitable alternative would be self-tanning products. These are available in almost every price range and color. Spray tanning is also becoming a popular and profitable alternative within the salon and aesthetic industries.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, self-tanning sprays and lotions are the most effective alternatives to sun exposure or tanning bed use. Lotions produce a tan over a longer period of time, and a spray tan will deliver instant color.
The active ingredient in self-tanning products is called dihydroxyacetone. A colorless sugar, dihydroxyacetone interacts with the dead skin cells in the stratum corneum, which induces a color change. As the skin cells slough off, so does the “tan.” Because our stratum corneum is constantly sloughing, both self-tanning lotions and sprays require constant maintenance (which provides a continued source of income for the practice offering these types of products and services).
Skin cancer is a reality, and it is up to every clinician to educate their patients about the importance of SPF use and safe alternatives to harmful tanning habits.