Effects of using Tanning Beds

By admin

Posted on July 12, 2011

Tanning beds offer a golden glow without ever having to go out into real sunlight. This so popular that close to a million individuals in the United States use this method of fake tanning. Tanning beds emit artificial ultraviolet radiations to produce an artificial or “sunless” tan. While tanning beds are a very common way to get a tan, there is a lot of concern regarding the safety of using tanning beds.

Ultraviolet Rays

Ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun are of two types – UVA and UVB. UVA rays have longer wavelengths and go deeper into the skin. UVB rays however, have shorter wavelengths and only affect the upper layers of the skin. While restricted exposure to UVA rays can cause the skin to tan, long term overexposure to UVA rays can eventually cause some serious skin damage. UVB rays are considered to be even more harmful than UVA rays and are commonly called “burning” rays.

A number of people are concerned about the emission of ultraviolet rays in tanning beds and rightly so, as they release between 93 percent and 99 percent UVA radiation. This is close to three times the UVA radiation that is naturally emitted by the sun. However, some people believe that since many tanning beds emit UVA rays instead of UVB rays, the risk is minimized.

While UVA rays may not have the exact same burning effects as UVB rays, they penetrate the skin much further, which can cause an individual much more significant and serious permanent skin damage. There are very few tanning beds out there that do not release any UVB rays at all, so combining both can be detrimental to the skin.

Common Negative Effects

The most common negative effects of using tanning beds include skin cancer (melanoma) in the most severe incidences, skin burns and premature aging of the skin. Experts have stated that individuals who regularly used tanning beds were at 75 percent increased risk of developing melanoma, which is a deadly form of skin cancer that is caused by exposure to UVA and UVB rays.

Keep in mind that though a tanning bed can give you a great tan quickly, it’s a smart idea to ask questions before you use one. Include questions such as how often tanning beds can be used safely, the general recommended tanning time for your type of skin, what types of lotions are best to use, what kind of protective eye wear is suitable etc.