How Your Skin Tans

As a tanner, you've probably always been curious about exactly how your skin tans. The process is really quite simple,and works the same whether you tan indoors or outdoors. Ultraviolet light is the catalyst, and a pigment in your skin called melanin does the rest. Tanning takes place in the skin's outer-most layer, the epidermis. About five percent of the cells in your epidermis are special cells called melanocytes. When exposed to ultraviolet B light, melonocytes produce melanin--the pigment which is ultimately responsible for your tan.The pinkish melanin travels up through the epidermis, and is absorbed by other skin cells. (this usually takes 12 to 24 hours and is the reason you dont "see" tanning results until a day or so after you start tanning.)When exposed to ultraviolet A light, the melanin oxidizes or darkens. this darkening is your "tan"! Because the tanning process takes time, you should avoid overexposure. A tan is acquired gradually, and shouldnt be rushed, or damage may occur! You should expect a tan in about 4 to 5 tanning sessions, 20 minutes in a tanning bed is equal to about three hours in the sun, so tan slowly and consistently, instead of longer and faster!


Many people grow up thinking that if they dont experience a slight red or pinkish tint after they tan, they didn't "get anything". The truth is that the red or pinkish tint you see is actually sunburn,-your skins worst enemy. Sunurn occurs when tiny blood vessels in your skin burst from too much exposure, indoors or outside. Don't rely on the color of your skin to tell you when to get out of the sun. Overexposure isnt evident sometimes until hours after the sun's gone down!

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