During pregnancy, a woman becomes very cautious, fearful of harming herself and her baby. In summer, a lot of future mothers face the question: can they enjoy such a pleasure as tanning while pregnant? This article will answer the question and dispel doubts and fears of the most responsible moms.
The desire to improve appearance and the desire to follow fashion trends (including tanned body) never leave women. And the period of pregnancy is not an exception. Moreover, during the maternity leave there is a lot of free time, which, depending on the season, can be spent on a beach or in a solarium, and your face and body will acquire a bronze-chocolate color. But how useful is this? Before talking about the positive and negative impact of tanning while pregnant, it is necessary to understand what tan is.
Why Does the Skin Get Tanned?
Tan is a protective reaction of the body to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. It manifests itself in the fact that melanin is produced by special melanocyte cells. This is the general name for a group of pigments that have the ability to bind and neutralize free radicals formed in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet. Such free radicals are dangerous for the body because they have a carcinogenic and mutagenic effect. It means that they can cause damage to DNA cells and stimulate the development of cancer tumors. Melanin colors the skin in a golden, red or chocolate color, depending on the amount of this pigment in a person. But, protecting itself from damage by the development of pigments, the body is somewhat delayed: it needs time to deploy adequate protection.
As a result, the body receives a strong “shake”, and the skin turns red. In this case, a long chain of reactions occurs, which are not visible to the eye and are not felt by the owner of the tan. As a result, pigment spots appear on the skin. Its fibers are damaged, and the reddened areas undergo keratinization (irradiation significantly accelerates the death of the surface layer of the skin). As a result, the elasticity of the skin decreases, which causes its overdrying and premature aging.
The main source of danger is ultraviolet irradiation. Ultraviolet rays can be divided into three types: A, B and C. They differ in wavelength and degree of influence on the skin of a person and on the body as a whole.
Ultraviolet A rays are longer. It is believed that they penetrate into the dermis (deep layer of the skin), destroy cells, cause aging, develop skin cancer and cataracts. Shorter B rays act mainly on the epidermis (the surface layer of the skin). The effect of type C rays is not taken into account, since they are almost completely reflected by the epidermis.
Tanning while Pregnant
It’s not a secret that during pregnancy there are various hormonal changes in the body of a woman. In particular, a specific hormone that affects pigmentation, that is, the formation of melanin, is activated. As a result, there are so-called “pregnancy spots” – chloasma. Due to the action of ultraviolet rays, these spots become bigger because they are able to increase the production of hormones of the adrenal glands, thyroid gland, male hormones in the body of a woman and thereby provoke a threat of interruption and other complications of pregnancy.
On the other hand, sunlight contributes to the production of vitamin D in the body. It regulates the exchange of trace elements: calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. What’s more, it prevents the development of osteoporosis in the future mother and rachitis in the future child. At the same time, it is important to use its useful properties reasonably and neutralize the harmful ones, observing the simple safety rules which we will list later.
Useful Properties of Tan
- Under the influence of ultraviolet rays, Vitamin D which is necessary for the organism is formed. It promotes hair growth, improves the structure of bones and nails, all due to the fact that calcium and phosphorus are poorly absorbed in the body without this vitamin.
- The sun’s rays also help the processes of hematopoiesis and skin renewal. In this case, melanin, which is produced in tanned skin, prevents the penetration of harmful infrared rays that have radiation properties. And due to the fact that in summer time it’s almost impossible to completely avoid the sun’s exposure, tan becomes a certain way of skin protection.
- There are also data that the sun’s rays help to get rid of some skin diseases, such as psoriasis and acne. The hormonal background of pregnant women during all 9 months suffers changes that quite often lead to acne. At the same time, treatment with strong drugs is prohibited at this time. Thus, the sun’s rays are one of the best methods to prevent and reduce the number of pimples on the body.
- During pregnancy, many women also suffer from venous dilation. Solar baths have such an indispensable property as strengthening the vascular network in the early stages of the disease.
- Tan is also useful during pregnancy because it improves immunity. And this will lead to a sharp reduction in possible respiratory diseases, such as ARVI and ARD, which is quite important during pregnancy.
- The influence of sunlight accelerates the metabolic processes and, accordingly, the woman does not gain excess weight.
- The effect of the sun has a positive impact on immunity in general.
Features of Tan during Pregnancy
You should know that during pregnancy, the skin gets tanned much faster. This is due to a change in the hormonal background. The level of estrogen increases, which causes a more intense formation of melanin pigment. The latter one gives our skin a chocolate shade. Therefore, future mothers need to be especially careful about the rules of behavior on the beach, in order to avoid possible complications.
Rules of Tanning while Pregnant
Start getting tanned gradually. At the beginning, don’t stay under the sun for more than half an hour.
For pregnant women it is desirable to sunbathe until 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. during the inactive sun.
While choosing the sunscreen, give pride of place to the highest UV-protective level creams.
Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside and periodically renew the application of the cream, especially after water procedures.
To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of fluids.
Protect your eyes with sunglasses, and your head with a panama or a broad-brimmed hat.
If the temperature on the thermometer exceeds the value of + 30 °C, it is better to forget about the beach at all, as this can negatively affect the course of pregnancy and the state of the fetus. In addition, unwanted complications may develop.
Direct sunlight during pregnancy is prohibited, as it can lead to a burn of the skin or the development of sunstroke. Thus, it is better not to stay under the direct sunlight.
Before going to the beach do not eat a lot, but don’t starve either. Feeling of heaviness or hunger can lead to a fainting condition, which will adversely affect the child.
It is better not to sunbathe on the beach sand. It heats up too much and can provoke the development of complications of pregnancy. Use a special beach chair.
Choose spacious clothes made from natural light fabrics that pass air well. A broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses are also very useful. And, of course, don’t forget to use a good sunscreen.
Possible Consequences of Tanning while Pregnant
As you already know, during pregnancy there are various hormonal changes in the body of a woman. In particular, a specific hormone that affects pigmentation is activated. As a result, against the background of an increase in the level of estrogens, pregnant women (with a certain genetic predisposition) may develop pigmentation spots. And their number and size, as a rule, directly depend on the time spent in the sun.
The most susceptible are open places: face, neck, ears, low neck area. Pigmentation develops slowly, without signs of inflammation. It can be light and dark. After childbirth the spots pale in a few months.
To avoid such manifestations on the skin, it is necessary to minimize the influence of the direct sunlight. And, in addition, it is desirable to wear protective clothing and apply photo-protection creams, especially in a spring-summer time in any weather.
Can a Woman Visit a Tanning Bed while Pregnant?
Another question pregnant women worry about is: “Can I get tanned in a solarium during pregnancy?” It should be noted right away that the influence of artificial sunrays on pregnancy was not studied by specialists. Still many doctors advise pregnant women to stay away from sunbathing in a tanning bed.
Studies show that tan in a solarium significantly increases the risk of skin cancer. In addition, pigmented spots can be formed, as well as burns, since during pregnancy, the skin of a woman is more susceptible to external factors.
Before going to a solarium, a pregnant woman should consult her gynecologist. Most doctors and scientists believe that artificial sunlight does more harm than benefit. That’s why women are recommended to give up tanning while pregnant in a solarium.