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
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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