UV Tanning

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 Cosmetic tanning is a pleasant exercise of one of our bodies natural functions.

When sunlight, or artificially created ultraviolet light, contacts human skin, a tanning response takes place. Actually, this response is the body’s creation of a protective “umbrella” through darkening of the cells in the upper layer of the skin.

How this happens involves a little bit of physics and a little bit of photobiology, but don’t let that scare you- the concepts are easy enough to grasp.

It all starts when ultraviolet UV light contracts the skin. different components of the UV spectrum perform different functions. These components are: 

UV-A: tans the skin by oxidizing melanin granules.

UV-B: reddens the skin and initiates the tanning precess by stimulating the formation of melanin.

 The first step in the tanning response is a reddening reaction called erythema. This is the skin’s response to UV-B. Erythema also causes the formation in the skin of a protective substance called melanin. This naturally synthesized material is intended to reduce the transparency of the upper layers of the skin- thus protecting it. As the melanin rises to the surface, the UV-A rays contained in a tanning exposure oxidize the melanin and cause it to turn brown. And that is how a tan is born!