Most of us believe one of the great benefits of tanning is a wonderfully bronzed, sexy and healthy looking body and complexion.
Fueled by this popular belief, millions head out to the beaches, pools, and tanning salons each year in the attempt to get that bronzed body of their own for others to admire.
Besides the obvious benefit to one's ego and self esteem, there are actually health benefits through being exposed to the sun's UVB rays, which enable us to make Vitamin D.
However, as with many things in life, it is important to manage or balance the exposure, as in reality there is a certain level of risk that comes with over doing it.
The bold and beautiful, rich and famous spread the image that having a great tan makes men or women appear more attractive and sexy.
Lets face it, through media and advertising especially, the beautiful people are often portrayed as wonderfully tanned bodies engaged in exciting outdoor activities and this relates directly to a very desirable thing - having loads of time and money for outdoor leisure.
Because many celebrities seem to sport bronzed bodies, this further influences the "ordinary people" to believe that with a tan, we too can be like our favorite supermodel, actor, or actress. Or politician!
There's also that other perception of being able to portray the image of youth and fitness.
After all, aren't all those famous sports stars, or exciting outdoor adventurists that are the picture of health, most often sporting a great tan?
It isn't that uncommon to see those that are middle aged and older attempt to get a bit of color for themselves.
Even those that are overweight, believe tanned fat looks so much more healthy and younger looking than lily white fat.
One of the most important benefits of tanning is the excellent boost to one's health with the ability of our bodies to manufacture Vitamin D by exposure to the sun's UVB rays.
The best, or most efficient way to obtain Vitamin D for the body is by exposing our skin to the sun, and via a photosynthesis type activity Vitamin D is created.
There are other sources such as specific food items and supplements, but the best and of course, free source, is the sun.
Research into the benefits of Vitamin D has exploded in the last few years as more and more scientific detail is uncovered about the power of Vitamin D for human health.
Besides this wonderful health benefit, many of the other reasons listed here are quite superficial.
So, the important aspect is to manage your exposure to the sun, as overdoing it can cause damage to the skin that will far outweigh the pleasure one gets from having a tan.
Irresponsible sun bathing or tanning in a tanning bed are two surefire ways to get sun damage.
Without sensible management of your exposure, it can result in sunburn, premature aging, wrinkles with loss of collagen and elasticity in the skin, and can even put you at risk for developing skin cancer.
Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, has continued to rise in alarming numbers over the years, making it that much more important for the public to know about the dangers of over doing tanning.
If it's a tan you want, for a specific purpose perhaps, or just for that sexy, healthy look, you can always opt for a sunless tanning product that does not use any UV rays or require exposure to the sun. These formulas work with your skin to create a tanned color of your own, while providing nutrients and moisturizing properties to keep your skin in shape.
It just means you will miss out on one of the best benefits of tanning, which is the creation of Vitamin D.