Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — created by grace Gallagher on October 9, 2019

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A tan occurs once sunlight or artificial ultraviolet (UV) rays hit the skin, resulting in a pigment called melanin come form. Melanin is responsible for the brown glow we associate through tans, yet it’s also the skin’s way of protecting itself against UV damages caused by the sun.

A tan you receive from out exposure is largely the an outcome of UVA rays native the sun, as the big majority the the sun’s UVB light ray are absorbed by the earth ozone layer. Tanning bed usually have a mix the UVA and also UVB rays. UVB light ray have much more energy 보다 UVA rays, have the right to directly damages your DNA, and are the cause of most skin cancers — despite both UVA and also UVB beam can damages your skin.

Spray tans, where the shade additive dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is evenly applied to temporary darken skin cells, room a popular different to achieve a tan there is no exposure come harmful UV rays.

There is no medical benefit to having a tan, but some world prefer the look of tanned skin. Legend has actually it the tanning ended up being popular in 1923 when coco Chanel was sunburned on a pilgrimage to the south of France. Image of she tanned supposedly became a sign of beauty and relaxation.

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Tans will last for different lengths that time relying on how you acquired it (from UV rays or spray). There space some points you have the right to do to extend the life of her tan, yet it i will not ~ be permanent.


The lifespan of a tan counts on what form of tan the is. The will also depend on your skin and also how commonly your skin regenerates.

Generally speaking, a tan the was completed through sunbathing exterior can be supposed to critical 7 to 10 days prior to the external layer that the skin starts to exfoliate naturally.

Spray tans deserve to start come fade in as small as 1 job without suitable care and also can last as lengthy as 10 days.

While there is no scientific proof to ago this up, spray tan professional Jules Von Hep claimed in a Marie Claire interview that some clients’ skin does no take a spray tan as well in the week before or during, their period so you may want to wait until the main after, if possible.

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Can a tan be permanent?

A tan is never ever permanent due to the fact that skin normally exfoliates itself over time. This reasons the tanned skin come flake off. New cells room formed and also older skin sloughs off.

Anyone who you view who seems “permanently” tan either has actually darker skin naturally, offers a sunless tanning odor or spray tans, or goes in the sunlight regularly.

It’s important to note that the mayo Clinic and also the Food and also Drug administration explicitly say the sunless demorphs pills room not safe. They need to be avoided.