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Safety And The Tanning Bed

By Anndrea Jenkin

There are plenty of us that feel healthier when our skin is

tanned. If you want a tan the choices come down to a

fake-tan product, laying in the sun, or a tanning bed.

One of the benefits of using a tanning bed is that it does

not matter what the weather is doing outside - sun-bathing

outside rarely being an agreeable thing to do in winter.

Another positive thing is that using a tanning bed means

that you can time the amount of exposure you are getting -

tanning beds are no different from the sun when it comes to

giving off damaging rays.

Anyone who elects to use a tanning bed needs to be aware of

all the safety issues. For a start, do not believe that it

is completely safe, like some unscrupulous advertisers

might suggest. Know the facts and you can look after


To understand why you hear the safe-tan claim made for sun

beds, we need to detour into a little science. Sunlight is

made up of ultraviolet light - this is what leads to the

tan. Scientists divide this light into UVa and UVb light,

with UVb causing burning more easily that UVa. Early

tanning machines were UVb sources, which was fairly

harmful, and all modern machines are UVa sources, which is

more healthy. Though it is true that chances of burning

quickly are less with UVa, it is wrong to suggest that this

form of ultraviolet light is safe. It is still important

to keep a watchful eye on the clock when using a UVa

tanning bed.

Watch out for any suggestion that the beds are so safe that

tanning goggles are unnecessary. Even UVa light is

damaging to our eyes, so you should insist on goggles every

time. You cannot substitute for the goggles by closing

your eyes, using standard sunglasses, or by placing rounds

of cotton wool over your eyelids. Tanning centers are

required by the Food and Drug Administration to use

goggles, so you are best advised not to use one that does

not insist on this.

The next thing to think about is the idea of a year-round

tan. Is this something you really want? If you live in a

country with seasons, it is sometimes nice that you reflect

the seasons a little bit - paler in the winter, slightly

more tanned in the summer. Okay, if you are desperate for

a year round tan, well it's your body, but you should be

aware that even tanning beds have a premature aging effect

on skin. It is something to think about.

If you have kids then you need to be especially cautious on

their behalf. When a child's skin is burned the skin is

more deeply effected, according to scientific research.

This research was based on UVb studies, yet those in the

know strongly advise care when using sun beds. At the end

of the day, you might decide that it is not worth the risk

simply so a child can have a bit of a tan.

For some people it is important that they seek medical

advice before using a tanning station. Diabetics, lupus

sufferers or people who tend to get cold sores may find

that sun beds aggravate these conditions. Certain

medicines - tranquilizers, antihistamines and some birth

control pills - can make your skin sensitive to the rays

from a tanning machine. The wisest advice for anyone just

starting out with an artificial tanning machine is to have

a chat with your physician.

If you want a tan badly enough, then go ahead an use an

artificial tan bed. Taking note of the guidance and

warnings above can help make it as safe as possible to get

that desired tan.

Copyright 2005 Anndrea Jenkin. All rights reserved.

Anndrea Jenkin is the manager and developer of UVA Tanning Bed Inc.

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