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Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2015 Nov;31(6):307-14. doi: 10.1111/phpp.12190. Epub 2015 Jul 23.

Suntanning with sunscreens: a comparison with sunbed tanning.

Author information

1
Dermatological Sciences, Institute of Cellular Medicine, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, UK.
2
BASF PCN GmbH, Monheim, Germany.
3
BASF Grenzach GmbH, Grenzach-Wyhlen, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE:

Acquiring a tanned skin, either by sunbathing, sunbed use, or a combination of both, is a desirable objective for many people. The objective here was to compare the ultraviolet (UV) exposure resulting from a 2-week vacation spent sunbathing with sunscreen-protected skin, with that from a typical course of 10 sessions on a sunbed.

METHODS:

A numerical analysis combining data on sunlight and sunbed UV levels, time spent tanning and spectral absorption properties of different types of sunscreen.

RESULTS:

The analysis showed that unless a sunscreen provides optimal broad-spectrum protection, a 2-week sunbathing vacation that avoids sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin can result in a higher cumulative UV exposure than a typical 10-session sunbed course. The lowest exposures for a given sun protection factor (SPF) are obtained when sunscreen delivers broad-spectrum protection that approaches the ideal of uniform absorption at all wavelengths throughout the UV spectrum.

CONCLUSION:

In extreme cases of recreational sun exposure where sunscreens providing suboptimal broad-spectrum protection are used, the UV insult to the skin is likely to result in higher cumulative exposures than commonly employed sunbed practices.

KEYWORDS:

UV exposure; broad-spectrum; sunbed; sunscreen

PMID:
26139559
DOI:
10.1111/phpp.12190
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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