Today there are two totally opposite opinions among people about tanning:
Tanning is dangerous because you can get skin-cancer from it; and
Tanning is healthy because it will give you Vitamin D
The fact is that both opinions above about tanning are right but the second is more right than the first.
Like with almost all good and healthy treats, having too much tanning can be negative. Consuming any vitamin, medicine, healthy food or food supplement, in small doses are good for your health, however taking too much can give you serious side-effects.
To determine the correct amount you can safely take of a food-supplement or medicine is difficult because it varies from person to person depending on many different individual circumstances. To regulate your tanning is easier; the most important factor is to be sure to stay well clear from burning your skin.
That is also one of the reasons why tanning is the preferred way to raise your level of Vitamin D. Tanning is also the only natural way for your body to absorb Vitamin D. If Vitamin D was meant to take by swallowing it, Vitamin D would have been present in a mother’s milk. Since all other nourishment needed for a newborn are present in a mother’s milk, except Vitamin D, it gives us a hint of how nature wants us to get it in another way, namely by tanning.
During the last five years, modern medical science has confirmed what our ancestors always knew – sunshine and tanning are necessary for human life. Modern science has also identified Vitamin D as one of the hormones responsible for the healing process that is trigged by sunlight. Exposing your naked skin to UVB rays (270 – 315/320 nanometers wavelength, with the Vitamin D creation peaking at 297 nm), is the most natural and safest way for your body to start its own production of Vitamin D. It is not necessary and likely not 100% safe, to take Vitamin D as food supplement or to drink huge amounts of fortified milk. Tanning is the best solution to get Vitamin D.
So now maybe you are convinced to get healthy by raising your Vitamin D level by tanning, you just have to find the all-important UVB-rays.
If it is summertime or perhaps if you live close to the equator, this will be easy. During the rest of the year, it is more difficult. The farther from the equator you are, the more problematic it is to find UVB in nature. The sun has to be at an angle of 50 degrees above the horizon for the short UVB rays to reach the earth and the sky must be clear and free from pollution.
The Vitamin D you managed to get by tanning in the right way during the summer will disappear at the same pace as your skin loses its tanned color. My own experience is that it takes about six weeks without tanning for my level of Vitamin D to go from very high to insufficient.
There is also a way to stay healthy during the “flu-season”, by visiting a tanning salon. The tanning lamp emitting UVB (together with UVA), is probably the most important health-improving invention during the last 50 years. It is an invention well worth a Nobel Prize.
Unfortunately and for reasons described in several other articles and posts on my blog, indoor tanning has become the main target for the “sun-scare” lobby. A few person’s obsession to get as dark as possible by abusing the means of indoor tanning, is motivating a fierce anti-tanning campaign. The fact is, however, that regular and moderate indoor tanning is probably the best way to stay healthy during the time when UVB cannot be found in nature.
A regular tanning regime is good for your health, but you have to help your skin to stay smooth and healthy in order for the tanning sessions to work. Using dedicated tanning lotions (without SPF) of good quality, preferably based on Aloe Vera, will keep your skin young and smooth while tanning in moderation.