How the skin tans
How the skin tans
As an industry, we promote our clients’ ability tanning. What’s more, by providing customers with the appropriate tanning lotion, we know that this will help them to reach their desired bronze. However how many of us truly understand the tanning process that we are aiding? Knowing how the skin tans could give you more confidence when speaking to clients about the difference between lotions and how they affect the skin.
Did you know that tanning causes the skin to react to UV light in at least four responses?
When skin tans, there are four main reactions which take place:
- Melanin pigmentation begins to form, causing the skin to darken (tanning)
- The skin’s outer barrier begins to thicken
- Various repair mechanisms start working
- Several immune responses begin, allowing you to fight diseases more effectively
These reactions will not take place the instant that someone begins tanning, but will develop over time.
The Tanning Process
When skin is exposed to UV, the tanning process begins. The initial step of this starts as UVB light triggers melanocytes in the basal layer of skin. (The basal layer sits just between the dermis and epidermis.) These special cells will then slowly begin to grow branch-like stems upwards in between the normal skin cells above. These stems then separate off into smaller shapes called melanosomes which are absorbed into skin cells. As the melanosomes enter the skin cells, they degrade and release pale melanin which forms a protective layer around the skin cell’s nucleus.
Later on, UVA light triggers the visible tanning effect. Melanin is oxidised which causes it to develop from pale to tan. This deeper coloured melanin can then act as a form of protective barrier against UV rays.This process takes between two to three days, depending on the paleness of skin as well as a client’s frequency of exposure to UV.
When tanning, the first session predominantly focuses on the initial process of melanocytes releasing melanin into the skin cells. Skin will lack the melanin required to tan the skin if it has not been exposed to UV recently. It will typically be the second session onward where the skin will begin developing a darker pigment. However, for those clients looking to tan immediately, our lotions contain different bronzers, some of which can help customers to develop a deeper, darker, longer-lasting tan faster. When using a sunbed to tan, it is also important that your clients apply a professional tanning lotion. Find out why lotions play such an important role in maintaining skin health here.