Is There Such Thing As A “Base Tan”?

You may have heard of the concept of preventing sunburns by obtaining a base tan, but does this really exist? All tans, including base tans, increase your risk of developing skin cancer, and using sunscreen and a spray tan is a much healthier way to protect your skin while getting a golden glow this summer.

What Is a “Base Tan”?

“Many people believe that obtaining a mild base tan at the beginning of the summer or before going on vacation is an effective way to prevent more serious sunburns throughout the season,” shares Dr. David Powell, a board-certified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology. “However, there is little evidence to support the idea that a base tan has any effect on future sunburns,” Dr. Powell continues.

Risks of a “Base Tan”

Any change in the color of the skin, including a light base tan, is an indication of damage to the skin. A tan or burn of any level of severity is a sign of UV exposure, which can be a significant risk factor for skin cancer years down the road. Each sunburn a person receives multiplies his or her risk of acquiring a variety of types of skin cancer.

Safer Alternatives to a “Base Tan”

Most people prefer a bronze glow over pasty white skin in the summer. Fortunately, there are a variety of safer alternatives that can help you get a gorgeous tan without the risks associated with UV exposure. “Getting a spray tan at a salon or using self-tanning lotion at home are safe ways to give your skin a healthy glow without the risk of severe sunburns or skin cancer,” suggests Dr. Powell. “At-home products have become easier to use in recent years, and many provide a more natural appearance than they used to,” he urges.

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The bottom line is that taking precautions, such as using sunscreen, wearing hats, pants, and long sleeves when the weather permits it and avoiding the sun during the middle of the day when UV exposure is the most direct, is safer than attempting to use a base tan to prevent sunburns. Contact Sanova Dermatology today for more sun safety tips!

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