Are tanning beds safe? While tanning beds and skin cancer seem to always appear together in many articles, this post will explain that not all tanning equipment are made equal -some are more harmful than others, while some are generally safe for moderate use. If you love getting that golden glow, there are a few things you should learn to make your tanning experience a safer one.
Tanning Beds and Skin Cancer
Tanning beds use ultraviolet rays to give its users that golden glow. UV rays however, have been associated with cancer of the skin in numerous studies -it being the most common type of cancer in the US. Statistics show that around 3.5 million people are diagnosed with the disease on a yearly basis. While tanning indoors is the usual culprit, a study done by Stanford University concludes that overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays is to blame, but although being under the sun for too long without any type of protection can cause cancer, overuse of sun beds can also contribute to developing the said disease. This is the reason why health authorities warn against the use of sunbeds in general.
Does A Safe Tanning Bed Exist?
According to dermatology professor Dr. Sarnoff, a co-author of the book Beauty and Beam, spending 10 minutes inside a tanning bed is equal to spending the same number of minutes under the Mediterranean sun during the summertime. This information has led many dermatologists to believe that getting a tan from a tanning salon increases the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma. The likelihood of developing basal cell carcinoma in sunbed fans is also 1.5 times higher as compared to those who get a natural an. The NYU School of Medicine professor also adds that aside from a high cancer risk, frequent users of sunbeds also experience premature aging.
Another doctor, Dr. David E. Fisher from Harvard Medical School, noted in an interview that there’s a misconception about tanning indoors as a great way to put some color on one’s skin. Fisher believes that sunbeds expose users to dangerous carcinogenic radiation levels. He also noted that pigmentation on the skin means it is suffering from damage. Skin darkening, according to Dr. Fisher, is the body’s way of repairing tissue injury. Even if many doctors warn against the use of sunbeds, indoor tanning is still quite popular because of the belief that being tan makes one look healthier.
Quality and Safety of Sunbeds
If you are thinking of getting that golden glow without exposing yourself to the sun, going to a tanning salon is a good idea. But this does not mean that you should go there to get a tan on a weekly basis. Spacing your visits is advised because like most things, not exercising moderation will only harm you. In the case of artificial tanning, it will harm your skin.
Using sunbeds in moderation will lower the chances of you falling ill. Like the sun, tanning bed exposure can cause different types of skin cancer. When used in moderation, indoor tanning can help your body get that much needed Vitamin D –a vitamin that one can get from the sun.
While many doctors are against the idea of sunbeds in general, sunbeds are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Its introduction to the country in the year 1979 prompted the US government to set up safety rules that tanning salons should adhere to. Tanning salons have to follow this set of rules to ensure that their customers are not exposed in the sunbed’s UVA rays for too long.
One of the most obvious benefits of getting an artificial tan is that those who are considered pale can add a bit of color to their skin. This in turn makes one look better and healthier. Aside from this, getting an indoor tan provides the skin with sun protection between SPF 2 and 4.
The other benefits of artificial tanning on the other hand are being debated among public health organizations and the tanning industry.