Getting a sun tan may be very beautiful and may look very healthy on the skin (opposed to a pale skin, which can look ill) but for a pregnant women, getting a sun tan while pregnancy, can be very risky. The sun may be our source of life, but the sun has the power to harm and burn too, when it comes to sun tanning while pregnant, there are more risks than benefits.
Cosmetic Sun Tanning Risks
Through the year and in the long hot summer days the sun is sending to earth three kinds of ultraviolet rays – UVA, UVB, and UVC.
- UVA – These are long wave length ultraviolet light, which can penetrate to the deeper skin layers and can cause skin cancer known as Basal cell Melanoma. The UVA rays are harmful all year round, winter or summer, and the regular SPF sun screen does not protect from them, you need UVA + UVB protection creams for skin protection.
- UVB – Short sun rays usually reaching earth between spring and summer, they cause the sun tanning (and sun burning). The best protection from them is using high SPF sun screen protection creams.
- UVC – These are very short sun rays, they are deadly, and are screened by the Ozone layer.
The UVB sun rays are the ones that cause the skin burns, sun blisters and the top layer damage and cosmetic side effects. The most common side effects for exposure to the sun bathing UVB, is skin discoloration. There can be two side effects regarding skin discoloration, hyper-pigmentation skin dark patches, and hypo pigmentation skin white patches.
When a pregnant women gets sun tanning the over dose of UVB with the extra Estrogen hormone can cause the hyper pigmentation to be more severe, and to even be permanent. These dark skin patches may appear on the forehead, cheeks side of chin and nose. In some cases the skin discoloration will pass after a few month, but the UVB which cause excessive melanin production can become a permanent cosmetic disorder.
The hyper pigmentation at the pregnancy is called Cholasma or also known as ‘mask of pregnancy’. This happens to many women because the hormones change the way the melanin production in the cell while pregnancy.
Sun Tanning Risks To The Fetus
A raise in body heat can cause death like sun stroke can be fatal to people walking in desert without hats and cooling the body. The fetus needs to be in the same body temperature until the delivery, in some cases when a pregnant women stays too long (for hours) while sun tanning, the body heat raises. This raise in the body heat can cause internal problems to the baby like damage to the nerve system and brain.
Long hours in the sun can cause dehydration too, this is when the water level the blood are too low, and severe damage can cause to brain or nerve system to collapse, and even be fetal.
Tanning is not something you MUST do when you are pregnant, it is something people choose to do. And like smoking… sun tanning is worth to avoid during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Sun Tanning Tips
There are some guidelines worth following to be make the pregnancy sun bathing more secure.
- Be Careful From Raise Of Body Heat – The main tip here will be to drink a lot of water and prevent the body from over heating. Do not stay in the sun for hours, let the body rest and cool down.
- Do It Gradually – Do not burn your self in one day, plan ahead, give the body 30 minutes of sun first, then 1 hour at the after noon, let the body produce melanin (brown tan color) naturally for a few days before you bake the body for hours in the sun.
- Use High SPF rate Lotions – The SPF protection is to lower the damage the UVB rays cause the skin. Use SPF 30 at least and renew the lotion cover every 1 hour.
- Use Water Resistance SPF – If you are on a pool vacation or at the sea side, use water resistance SPF cream, the regular creams will not protect you when you are wet.
- Cool The Body – Wear a hat, wear long sleeves, use sun glasses with UVA protection, walk in the shade, drink water. This will cool your body and allow it enough humidity to protect it self from the sun tanning torture you decided upon.
Sunfree Tanning For Pregnancy
There are some sunfree tanning solutions like self tanning sprays and sun tanning make up foundations, these can be a perfect solution to avoid short term risks (hyper pigmentation) and long term risks (skin cancer) that sun tanning can cause. Not every self tanning spray is safe for pregnancy, make sure you use those which are safe, like this California North Titanium Self Tanner.
Please keep the pregnancy sun tanning protection tips in mind, as sun tanning is not only at the pool side or at vacation, but even at a regular day in the park, in a sunny warm day, may need the sun screen SPF protection and some sun protective clothing on.