Dangers Of UV Radiation Exposure

Everyone knows that spending too much time in the sun can be quite harmful to our bodies. Even with this knowledge, people all across Canada still flock to beaches all summer long to bathe in the sun throughout the short summer months in hopes of getting a  perfect golden tan.

Before you decide to do this, make sure that you understand just how dangerous extended exposure to UV rays are to your body. Some of the effects are temporary, but the more severe ones are long lasting and can even be life threatening. UV rays can have the following negative impacts on our bodies:

  • Sunburning
  • Premature skin aging
  • Weakening of your immune system
  • Development of skin cancer

sun dangers

Be prepared so that you can take the necessary precautions to enjoy the sunshine in a safe manner and minimize your risk of damaging your body.

Painful Sunburns

Anyone who has spent too much time in the sun without sunscreen on knows all too well how much it sucks to get a sun burn. Depending on how severe the sunburn is, you can experience symptoms such as your skin turning red, varying degrees of pain, peeling skin, itchy skin, fever, chills and several other symptoms. But what is actually happening on a biological level for your skin to burn?

As your skin is exposed to high levels of UV radiation, superficial blood vessels in the dermis dilate causing increased blood flow in the skin, which results in your skin turning red. The harmful UV rays are also damaging RNA in your skin cells and causing genetic mutations in your skin, which in the long term can become very dangerous.

Premature Skin Aging

Unlike sunburning, premature aging of the skin occurs after repeated exposure to the suns harmful UV rays. As you repeatedly expose your skin to the sun, the dermis begins undergoing structural changes while trying to adapt to the powerful radiation.

premature aging

Some of the signs that your skin is prematurely aging include:

  • dry skin
  • wrinkled skin
  • loss of skin elasticity
  • mottled skin appearance

Weakening of the Immune System

Recent research has shown that excessive exposure to UV rays can diminish the activity of certain cells that are responsible for triggering an immune system response. This in turn can make it difficult for the body to heal certain infections and, even worse, can stop tumor rejection making it more likely for someone with high exposure to UV rays to get skin cancer.

Development of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer, which is the most prevalent form of cancer on earth, can come in several different forms. Some of these skin cancers are a result of chronic exposure to UV rays while others are a result of periodic intense exposure for people that have unacclimatized skin.

skin cancer

The harmful UV rays damage DNA cells causing mutations for the next generation of skin growth. On top of this, the immune system suppression discussed above makes it difficult for the body to fight off any harmful mutated cells.

How Does Sunscreen Work?

Anyone who likes spending extended amount of time outdoors taking in the sunshine knows how terrible a sunburn can be. Even if you don’t get sunburned, most people understand the dangers of powerful UV rays hitting your skin. With extended exposure UV rays you are slowly damaging your skin and increasing your risk of skin cancer.

Luckily sunscreen exists allowing us to spend more time than is considered safe in direct sunlight while protecting our skin. But how exactly does sunscreen keep us protected from the suns harmful rays?


In this article we will explain how sunscreen can keep you protected from the sun, giving recommendations on what to look for when buying it and how to use it effectively.

The Effect Of UV Rays On The Skin

Before going into how sunscreen keeps your protected, you must first understand how UV rays affect your skin without sunscreen protection.

Their are two types of UV rays that hit your skin; UVA and UVB ranging from a wavelength of 290 to 400 nanometers, with UVB rays being the bigger threat to the health of your skin. When these UV rays hit your skin, the energy gets absorbed into the fat and proteins within your skin, creating free radicals which damage cellular structures including DNA.

This damage in the skin cells DNA will cause a burning sensation and appearance in the short term. In the long term it can lead to genetic mutations in your skin cell structure. Since your skin replenishes itself every few weeks, these mutations will get passed on to the new skin cells. As many of you may already know, mutations in living cells is the way that cancer cells eventually form. Sunscreen, however, can help significantly reduce these mutations.

How Sunscreen Keeps You Protected

Most sunscreens have two main types of active ingredients in them; inorganic particles and organic particles. Each of these has a different role to play in the sunscreens effectiveness.

  • UV raysInorganic particles, typically zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, form a physical barrier on your skin reflecting UV rays away from your skin.
  • Organic particles, like oxybenzone or avobenzone, absorb UV radiation releasing the energy as heat within the organic particles.

So as the UV rays from the sun hit your sunscreen protected skin, the inorganic particles help reflect a large portion of the radiation back into the atmosphere, while the organic particles absorb most of the remaining radiation giving off heat. Therefore, much less UV radiation is making it’s way into the proteins and fats of your skin reducing free radical formation.

Now that you know how sunscreen keeps you safe, keep on reading to understand what you should be looking for in a good sunscreen. With so many products on the market it can be difficult to understand all the jargon.

What To Look For When Choosing A Sunscreen

This can be difficult to understand with so many products available today. In general, you should be looking for a sunscreen with the following properties:

  • good sunscreenbroad-spectrum protection – this will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays
  • has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 to 50 – this really depends on your sensitivity to sun burn, higher meaning more protection. More on this below
  • is waterproof, even if you don’t plan on going in the water because sweat will also wash some of the lotion off

As long as your sunscreen has these properties you will be making a good choice. Aside from this, there are other factors to consider such as whether certain chemical compounds may react negatively with your skin, but this is really a case-by-case issue that each person needs to discover on their own.

There are also many different forms of sunscreen such as sprays and creams to choose from. As long as you are applying it properly, it really doesn’t matter which type you use, however, creams are considered to be the easiest and safest to use.

understanding spf

SPF is a measure of how well the sunscreen protects against UVB rays which are the more dangerous of the two types of UV radiation. UVB has a shorter wavelength than UVA and thus is the radiation that causes sunburns and most skin cancers.

So as an example, SPF 15 will protect your body against 93% of UVB rays while SPF 30 will protect against approximately 97%. There is no way to protect against 100% but even these amounts are considered safe.

The SPF number also suggests how much longer it will take you to burn in the sun than if you weren’t wearing any sunscreen at all. For example, if you normally burn within 20 minutes wearing not sunscreen, a sunscreen with SPF 15 will make you burn at 1/30 that rate, so it will take you 15×20, or 300 minutes to burn wearing the SPF 15 sunscreen.

How To Properly Apply Sunscreen

According to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), these are the guidelines for when and how to apply sunscreen.

sunscreen application

When to apply sunscreen:

  • at least 30 minutes before you go outdoors so it has time to absorb into the skin
  • after swimming or excessive sweating
  • every couple hours that you are outdoors to keep a fresh coat on

How to effectively apply sunscreen:

  • shake the bottle before application to ensure any clumps are removed
  • use one ounce to cover your entire body. For optimal effectiveness, you need approximately 2 mg’s of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin on your body.
  • apply sunscreen to all parts of your body that will be exposed to the sun

By following these guidelines you will be maximizing the effectiveness of your sunscreen, significantly reducing your chances of getting sun burn or skin cancer. Don’t think that you are completely protected, however, and seek shade when you can to further avoid over-baking in the sun.

The Science Of Sun Tanning

Now that the summer is in full effect, people are flocking to beaches all around the GTA to take in the suns rays and get that perfect tan they’ve been dreaming of all winter. But how many of them actually stop to think about why our skin gets tanned in the first place and what is a safe level of exposure to the sun?

We all know that too much exposure to the sun can be dangerous, causing sunburn or, even worse, skin cancer. Even with this general knowledge, there are still many people that spend hours on end laying in the sun on hot summer days, not knowing how much exposure is considered “too much”.

sun tanning

This is actually a tough question to answer because it is really dependent on several factors, some of which are unique to each person. In this article we break down the science of sun tanning explaining how your body reacts to the suns UV rays and how long is a safe amount of time to spend directly in the sun.

How Sun Tanning Works

Although tanned skin may be considered a thing of beauty in Canada, it is in fact our bodies natural response to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. It is a natural process that happens in many animals, with humans being the only ones that deliberately put ourselves in harms way for this process to occur.

How UVB and UVA rays penetrates into the skin
How UVB and UVA rays penetrates into the skin

To understand how sun tanning works, first you must understand that we are exposed to two types of UV radiation from the sun; UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are what makes people tan and is the majority of what we are exposed to, while UVB rays are more dangerous, potentially causing the top layer of our skin to burn.

When UVA rays make contact with our skin they penetrate deep into the lower layers of the epidermis, causing cells known as melanocytes to produce melanin, the brown pigment that so many of us strive for. UVA rays also oxidize any melanin that is already at the surface of the skin causing the browning process to occur quickly. The purpose of melanin production is to protect the upper layers of the skin from being further damaged by excessive UV exposure by absorbing a large amount of it.

What is considered “too much” sun exposure

In reality, any deliberate exposure to powerful UV rays is too much, according to the FDA. Of course you will be exposed to the sun regardless as you are going about your daily life, but this is considered natural exposure and is actually a good thing since it produces vitamin D. When you instead decide to go lay in the sun for hours at a time just to get a tan, you are purposely damaging your skin just to look good.

sun burn

Even if you do get a tan, the protection that the tan offers is not significant by any means. The recommended protection from the sun is an SPF of 15, whereas the average tanned skin will only provide an SPF of approximately 5, leaving your skin exposed to harmful UV rays. The more time you spend in the sun, the more likely that the suns rays can burn the top layer of your skin, and in the long run maybe even develop skin cancer.

Safe Alternatives To Sun Tanning

It’s understandable that people want to achieve a nice skin color to impress those around them. But is it really worth the risk of damaging your skin or getting skin cancer?

Luckily there are safe ways to make your skin a beautiful golden hue without exposing it to damaging UV rays. The most popular method available is to use a sunless tanning solutions like spray tanning.

spray tanning

Spray tanning uses an ingredient known as DHA which interacts with amino acids on your skins top layer. The reaction causes a brownish pigment to be produced giving you the same glow that a natural sun tan would yield, minus the exposure to harmful UV rays. The only problem with this is that your skin won’t have greater protection from the sun like it would if it was naturally tanned, but at least you’re not damaging your skin in the process.

In reality, we should all stop focusing so much on social norms that tell us what is and what isn’t beautiful at the expense of our health. Instead just be happy for what you have in life knowing that we all have our own unique beauty from within, regardless of the color of our skin.

What Is Spray Tanning?

Having tanned skin has long been desired and considered a sign of health and beauty in many parts of the world, including Canada. People who have a tanned complexion are typically considered to be more slim and in better shape than those with pale skin. On top of this, having a nice tan can be an indication that you have the luxury to spend time at the beach and visit tropical places often.

sun bathing

Despite all the evidence that links long hours of sun-bathing to skin cancer, people still flock to beaches all across Canada during the short summer months to sit in the sun for hours on end, trying to achieve a perfect golden tan. Even in the winter, many Canadians go to paradise island destinations such as Cuba, Mexico, and Jamaica to soak in the sun, coming back with a tan to only get compliment after compliment from their co-workers, family and friends.

Thankfully modern advances in science have given those who want a tan an excellent alternative to baking in the sun for hours, significantly reducing their risk of skin cancer. Spray Tanning delivers similar results to sun-bathing but without all the risk factors. And the best part is, you don’t have to go to Cuba in the winter to get a tan! Check out our spray tanning salon in Mississauga to get a natural looking tan today.

What Is Spray Tanning

Just as the name implies, spray tanning is a form of tanning your skin using a mist or aerosol that is sprayed onto your body. The main ingredient in the spray used is called Dihydroxyacetone, DHA for short, which is a sugar that produces a pigment in the skin once it interacts with amino acids on the top layer of the skin. The pigment produced is called melanoidins which causes the golden tanned look that people are striving for.

spray tanning

It takes a short time for the DHA to interact with the amino acids on your skin, giving you a nice bronze look shortly after the spraying procedure. This tanned color is only temporary and will last approximately 7 days after which the skin color will slowly fade back to its natural tone.

One major difference in spray tanning to sun bathing is that during sun bathing your skin is becoming darker to protect itself against the harmful rays of the sun from burning your skin in the future, whereas spray tanning is a chemical reaction that makes your skin look darker only. Therefore, if you do get a spray tan make sure to wear sun screen and stay in the shade when in the sun to not damage your skin.

Spray Tanning Methods

There are two main spray tanning methods available through tanning salons which should always be administered by a professional for best results. These methods include:

  1. Airbrush Spray Tan – this method requires an attendant to use a spray gun, that is similar to a paint gun, to evenly spray your entire body with the spray tan mist.
  2. Booth Spray Tan – the second and more reliable option is to stand in a specialized booth that has several nozzles. These nozzles automatically spray your entire body in a uniform manner giving you a perfect looking tan without any nasty tan lines.



Your Skin Your Choice

Tanned skin is generally considered as a reflection of a healthier and more active person in the western world. Tanning also adds to the beauty of the skin making the person more attractive and desirable. Although direct exposure to sun may be desirable, too much exposure can actually be detrimental to the skin. The ultra violet rays of the sun are prone to cause sun burn and, in certain cases, even skin cancer.

Luckily, modern technology has come up with scientifically tried and tested methods to help achieve artificial sun tanning. This phenomenon now allows for tanning that is available all the year round, regardless of your geographical location. This is achieved through different methods and products such a tanning beds, mists, airbrush, oils, creams, lotions, and even pills. Midnight Sun Tanning, for example, is a great Mississauga tanning salon allowing you to get amazing results even in the bitter cold of winter.

tannig bed

These methods are considered to be safe sunless tanning, which is now the most well known thing for people who are eager to achieve the golden brown natural tan all year round. In fact, sunless tanning has quite a number of benefits that can help one to be tanned without being exposed to the harmful ultra violet rays of the sun. Continuous uncontrolled exposure to the rays of the sun is highly dangerous for the skin. With the use of creams and brushes, the skin maintains a beautiful tan without the harmful sun rays.

Moreover, these tanning lotions are also able to reduce the long hours of exposure to the sun usually required for that perfect tan. For example, skin bronzer is an excellent lotion that once applied, gives quick amazing results. Another well known product is tanning pills that have been scientifically proven to achieve great sun tanning results. These products warrant excellent results in basically any time of the year, and are an absolute requisite for a healthy, shiny and a lovely skin.

Benefits Of Stand Up Tanning

At Midnight Sun Tanning we have stand up tanning beds for ultimate results. As opposed to traditional shell like tanning beds, stand up tanning beds are another version of tanning equipment. The major difference, as the name implies, is the customer has to stand in this bed as opposed to lying down straight.

stand up tanningStand up tanning beds tend to have more benefits than the regular tanning beds such as allowing the customer to enjoy greater flexibility and limb mobility. For example, you can raise your arms giving you a better all around tan, getting areas of your body you wouldn’t normally have tanned like under the arms and inner thighs.

It has also been observed that while lying in prostrate position in a traditional tanning bed, the pressure points do not get tanned. In stand up tanning beds there is no issue of any pressure points eliminating uneven tans. Moreover, the technology of light is further advanced as the bulbs used are 160 watts as compared to 100 watts in the traditional tan beds, allowing your perfect tan to occur in a shorter amount of time.

Another major benefit of stand up tanning beds is that they are more hygienic. In the case of traditional lay down tanning beds the salon has to disinfect the tan beds after every use. With stand up beds, however, there is minimal to no contact between the customer and the bed surface, meaning there is much lower chance of bacteria building up on the surface of the bed. Whatever the case may be, the general consensus is that stand up tan beds are more neat and clean, therefore better than the traditional ones.

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