The different types of UV light

There are 3 types of ultraviolet rays: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. A tan occurs when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet light, from the sun or at SunScape. The primary role of UV-B rays in the tanning process is to stimulate the production of melanin. Melanin production is your body’s natural response to UV exposure and helps protect your skin from burning. UVB rays also initiate beneficial responses in the skin, such as the production of Vitamin D3, which we need to regulate calcium, magnesium and phosphorus absorption in our bodies. All of the beds at SunScape contain a small portion of UV-B rays.

The primary role of UV-A rays, also known as the tanning ray, is to oxidize the pre-existing melanin, which turns your skin brown. All of the beds at SunScape contain a high percentage of UV-A rays.

Please refer to our “SunScape Equipment and how it relates to the tanning process” section to learn more.

UV-C rays are dangerous and can cause damage to your skin. There are absolutely no UV-C rays at SunScape.

How your skin tans

Tanning takes place when the pigment in your skin reacts to ultraviolet light. Tanning occurs in the skin’s outermost layer, the epidermis. About 5% of the cells in your epidermis are special cells called melanocytes. When exposed to UV-B rays, melanocytes produce melanin – the pigment that is ultimately responsible for tanning your skin.

The pinkish melanin travels up through the epidermis and is absorbed by other skin cells. When exposed to UV-A rays, the melanin oxidizes or darkens. This darkening is your skin’s way of protecting itself from too much UV light, which we call a tan.

SunScape has the best possible mix of beds and lamps so that each client gets the appropriate amount of UV-A and UV-B rays to attain the best tan possible. Ask one of our SunExperts which bed would work best for your skin type.

Your skin type

It is important for you as an individual to know how sensitive your skin is to UV light. The more sensitive your skin is, the less sun exposure you should get. Always remember that you should avoid over-exposure. Taking precautions to tan at a proper rate will minimize your risk of sunburn.

There are 6 basic skin types:

Type
Skin Characteristics
Recommended Tanning Frequency
1
Bright white skin that burns easily and rarely tans. Red hair with blue or green eyes and freckles.
This skin type should avoid sun exposure both indoors or out. This skin type is unable to produce enough melanin to protect them from sunburns that can lead to skin damage.
2
Light colored skin, which burns easily. Can tan but still susceptible to sunburn. Blonde or red hair, brown or blue eyes and freckles.
This skin type can be exposed to indoor tanning rays in moderation and in very short periods of exposure. Extreme caution should be taken to avoid sunburn.
3
Tans easily, but still susceptible to moderate sunburn. This is the most common skin type in North America. Brown eyes and darker hair.
This skin type can expect a rich, golden tan, indoor or outdoors, when exposed 10 to 15 minutes 2 – 3 times per week (indoors).
4
Tans easily and almost never burns. Dark eyes, dark hair and Mediterranean, Oriental or Hispanic heritage.
This skin type can be exposed to tanning rays for longer periods of time (indoors and outdoors).
5
Rarely burns and tans easily and cumulatively. Dark hair and eyes and are of Indian, Hispanic or African descent.
This skin type can be exposed to tanning rays for longer periods of time (indoors and outdoors).
6
Can tan despite their black skin. Never sunburn and have dark hair and usually are of African, or Aboriginal descent.
This skin type usually tans indoors for the health benefits of moderate exposure to sunlight and/or medical reasons.

When you are outdoors, always protect yourself from the sun. If you don’t know how long you will be out in the sun, don’t risk sunburn, bring proper clothing to cover up or wear sunscreen.

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