||Basic Indoor Tanning Certification Course
The Tanning Process
· Immediate pigment darkening
· Delayed tanning
It is essential that you and your employees understand the biological
process by which the skin tans when exposed to ultraviolet radiation.
An understanding of the tanning process will aid you in educating your
clients in the proper way of achieving the best tan possible.
Human skin is composed almost entirely of water and organic molecules.
Molecules of organic compounds consist of nuclei which are in relatively
fixed positions and electrons which are found in defined volumes surrounding
the molecular structure. For each compound, certain electronic states
exist, each of which corresponds to the distribution of electrons around
the nuclei and a specific energy. At room temperature, all molecules are
in the electronic state with the lowest energy, called ground state.
UV radiation must first be absorbed by molecules to cause any chemical
change. Only that radiation absorbed by the skin can initiate a biologic
response. A molecule that absorbs light is called a chromophore. These
include molecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. After absorbing the
energy of the radiation, the molecule is in an excited state. The molecule
exists in this excited state for a fraction of a second before losing
the energy at which time a chemical change occurs. The observable effect
may be increased pigmentation of the skin or erythema.
The Tanning Process
To understand the tanning process one first needs to realize that the
skin is comprised of several different types of cells. Each type of cell
has a specific function. The cells involved primarily in the tanning process
are called melanocytes. Melanocytes are located at the base of the epidermis
between the epidermis and the dermis below. Melanocytes use the amino
acid tyrosine to produce melanin. This melanin leaves the melanocytes
and travels up through the epidermis where it reacts with the UVA and
UVB radiation through a chemical reaction darkening the pigmentation of
the skin. As we already know the skin consists of three layers of tissue:
The epidermis or outer layer, the dermis or inner layer and the subcutaneous
tanning process or increased pigmentation occurs in two phases. The first
one is immediate pigment darkening (IPD). IPD is a rapid darkening of
the skin which begins during exposure to UV radiation and its maximum
effect is visible immediately. It is caused by a change in melanin already
present in the skin. IPD is most obvious in skin where significant pigmentation
already exists. It occurs after exposure to the longer wavelength of UVA
or visible light. IPD may fade within minutes of small exposures or may
last several days after longer exposures and blend in with delayed tanning.
Delayed tanning, induced mostly by UVB exposure, is the result of increased
epidermal melanin and first becomes visible 72 hours after exposure. Both
UVA and UVB radiation start delayed tanning by creating an excited condition
in the melanocytes which in turn releases more melanin into the skin.
The degree of IPD is primarily a reflection of the person's skin type.
Delayed tanning demands larger doses of both UVA and UVB for any given