“Base tan” is a term popularized by tanning salons and refers to the practice of gradually developing a sun tan through sun exposure or a tanning bed, often before a tropical vacation or other sun-soaked event. The thinking is that somehow, this can prevent a sunburn or sun damage.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t true. The UV rays that tan your skin in a tanning bed are identical to the UV rays that come from the sun. Most alarming, research based on seven worldwide studies has shown that people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75%.
Sun protection is the single most important way to keep your skin looking young and healthy. However, if you have a history of basking in the sun, don’t despair. There are many options to protect yourself today and plenty of techniques to reduce and reverse the signs of sun damage you may already have. Start by using your sunscreen every day. Your skin will thank you for it and it could save your life.