Ahhh, there is nothing like laying on a tanning bed and pretending that I am on a long-deserted beach, feeling laid back and comfy. Screech to a halt, but people always say you need to be careful about how much sun you get. Everything in moderation. Does this apply to tanning beds as well? What are the pros and cons of tanning?
How do they work?
Basically, you have artificial sunshine created by ultraviolet lights emitting UVA radiation giving you that precious tan. These are the long wave UVA radiation as opposed to the natural short wave UVB rays from the sun. These rays activate the melanocyte cells which then promotes the production of melanin, the pigment of your skin. Melanin protects your skin and gives your skin, hair, and iris's it's colour.
So, let's talk about the good stuff first.
Millions of North Americans enjoy the use of tanning beds yearly. Sivamani, Crane and Dellavalle wrote an article in The US National Library of Medicine that showed tanning aids vitamin D production, improves moods, and improves appearance. Dr. Mercola, from the Mercola Health newsletter writes that a tanning bed is an important method of getting Vitamin D and that melanoma is not caused by a tanning bed.
Another excellent benefit is for those who suffer from atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, vitiligo, and acne. Regulated and supervised use of the bed can aid in the remission of these conditions. If you suffer from these skin diseases, get approval from your medical practitioner.
What are the risks.
As we know UV radiation promotes skin malignancies like basal cell carcinoma and melanoma and has become a major public health problem. Every time you tan via the sun or a tanning bed you run the risk of age spot, wrinkles, and premature aging.
If you are on the pill in any form you are subjecting yourself to the possibility of Melasma; a patchy brownish-tan or blue-gray facial skin discoloration that appears on the upper cheeks, upper lips, forehead, chin and bridge of their nose.
It has been proven that using a tanning bed without using the goggles provided you can and people have, developed masses of tissues on the eye, cataracts, and/or cancer of the eye. Our eyelids are possibly some of the thinnest membranes we have.
Tanning beds emit 15 times more UV radiation than the sun. This also is linked to the fact that UVB rays interfere with the body's proper functioning of your immune system.
Important tips if you decide to use a tanning bed.
Don't go if you are:
white skin, blond or red hair
suffering from moles, lesions, herpes, or shingles
take medication such as anti-depressant, contraceptives, antifungals, antibiotics, or antidiabetics
you are pregnant or breastfeeding
Only go in for the recommended time
Take off all your cosmetics
Make sure you stay out of the sun for 48 hours after tanning
Use moisturizer after tanning.
Be smart, be safe, be healthy!