What tanning does to your skin

Amaris B.

Updated on

September 12, 2021

We look at why people want that bronzy glow and the risks of tanning. Plus, how top aesthetic treatments from Amaris B Clinic can help rewind some of the damage like sun spots, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and even cellulite.

Table of contents

To tan or not to tan, that is the question! We all know that extended hours under the sun is no good for the skin. But, there can be damage from both good old-fashioned sunbathing and indoor tanning. We look at why people want that bronzy glow and the risks of tanning.

Plus, how top aesthetic treatments from Amaris B Clinic can help rewind some of the damage like sun spots, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and even cellulite.

How did tanning get so popular?

According to historical reports, tanning started coming into vogue in the 1920s. Apparently, the trend was kick-started by fashion icon Coco Chanel; in 1923, she was photographed looking sun-kissed while holidaying on the Duke of Westminster’s Mediterranean yacht.

Five years later, fashion designer Jean Patou launched the first tanning oil, Huile de Chaldée. More brands subsequently hopped onto the bandwagon, leading to a boom in the tanning industry. The rest is history!

Why do people tan?

One simple reason: they think that having a tan looks good. In a study published in 2010, photos of 45 women between the age of 21 and 35 were uploaded onto a website for members of the public to rate on a scale of attractiveness from 1 to 10.

Then, a digitally added “tanned” version of the photos was re-uploaded; another average rating was then calculated using the same criteria. The results revealed that 30 out of the 45 photos uploaded had a higher rating with the added tan than without.

Many who deliberately tan do so as they believe that a tanned complexion looks more attractive. Cultural reasons also have a part to play. A 2007 study conducted amongst young adults in Chicago affirmed the positive connotations of tanning; 81 percent of the respondents found people with a tan more attractive.

The risks of tanning

Loving your time out in sun? If you skipped the sunblock, the price to pay can be a painful one: lobster-red sunburn that’s tender to the touch. Ouch! Scientifically known as erythema, sunburn is the most obvious sign of short-term skin damage caused by prolonged sun exposure. It usually comes with redness and peeling after a couple of days.

Skin cancer is one major danger of excessive tanning. According to the FDA, UV radiation from sun lamps and indoor tanning beds may cause irreversible damage to the eyes and suppress your immune system, making you more susceptible to diseases like skin cancer.

Exposure to UVA and UVB rays from the sun can exacerbate two forms of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. The former accounts for most of the deaths caused by skin cancer each year. It starts at the epidermal cells that produce melanin, whereas non-melanomas develop in the basal or squamous cells at the base of the epidermis.

Aesthetic concerns

The effects of tanning can be harsh on the skin, especially with years of sun damage and UV exposure from indoor tanning.

Once UV radiation hits the skin, melanin production increases to protect it from more damage. This results in your skin tone darkening over the next few days.

The increase in melanin production is a form of skin damage. Photoaging (or premature ageing) sets in, taking the form of sun spots, freckles and textural issues like wrinkles and sagging. Hyperpigmentation often takes place, which can be hard to get rid of without aesthetic treatments like lasers and peels – eek!

However, if you’ve been an ardent sunseeker your whole life, fear not. Help is here!

Treatment options

PICO Fractional Laser

PICO Fractional Laser is an FDA-approved picosecond laser that treats a variety of concerns; these include sun spots, pigmentation, sun-damaged skin, acne scars, dull skin as well as ageing signs like wrinkles and fine lines.

Using the principle of Laser Induced Optimal Breakdown (LIOB), the laser delivers energy in short bursts, directly into the targeted areas of concern. This breaks down the pigmentation, effectively treating the dermal and epidermal layers of the skin. Spots are evened out and the complexion is rejuvenated.

Spectra Laser Peel

Another popular treatment for skin issues after sun-tanning is  Spectra Laser Peel. This deep-cleansing skin rejuvenation treatment is non-invasive and non-ablative; also known as the “Hollywood” laser peel, it’s popular amongst celebrities for boosting skin radiance.

Using carbon powder and Q-switched Nd: YAG SPECTRA laser, it’s an effective treatment for oily, acne-prone skin, enlarged pores and fine lines, and helps the elimination of comedones such as blackheads and whiteheads.

Anti-cellulite Program

Excessive UV exposure over time damages the collagen and weakens the skin, causing it to be less resilient to the formation of cellulite on the body. Being under the sun can also dry out your skin; lumps and dimples look more obvious as a result.

Amaris B Clinic offers a holistic Anti-Cellulite Program to treat uneven skin tone, reduce fluid retention and stimulate lymphatic system while effectively reducing the appearance of cellulite and tightening the skin.

4D Fuid Facelift

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, indoor and sun tanning can make your skin age more quickly. On top of uneven skin tone and sun spots, those who tan often experience a loss in skin firmness earlier than those who don’t.

Consider the 4D Fluid Facelift, a customised program that uses dermal fillers to restore lost volume on the face for those facing skin laxity concerns.  

Anti Wrinkle Program

If wrinkles and fine lines are a major concern, the Anti Wrinkle program at Amaris B Clinic uses Botulinum toxin to smoothen pesky lines and wrinkles.

This versatile treatment is injected into the area just beneath the skin with a microneedle, relaxing overactive facial muscles to soften lines on the forehead, brows and neck.

Ultherapy

Another popular treatment for halting the effects of photoaging is Ultherapy; this non-invasive skin lifting and tightening procedure uses focused ultrasound energy to treat sagging skin, jowls, droopy lids, wrinkles and fine lines.

Most importantly, don’t forget your daily sunscreen! According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, using an SPF 15 sunscreen daily can lower your risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.

A tailored program

When it comes to aesthetic concerns and treatments, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. it’s best to seek professional help from a qualified medical professional who can tailor a plan for you.

Amaris B Clinic’s Medical Director Dr Ivan Puah has over 20 years of clinical experience. His “30% science, 70% art” approach to aesthetic treatments has earned him and his practice multiple accolades. He’s also the appointed trainer for doctors on injectables such as Botox and fillers by Merz Singapore, Allergan Singapore.