The Basics of Tanning Beds
Posted on July 12, 2011
While a bronze glow is appealing to many people, most may not have the time it takes to sit in the sun to achieve that glow. A popular trend these days to achieve a tan at a tanning salon. There are a variety of tanning beds to choose from which differ in the intensity and type of ultra violet light emitted. Keep in mind that tanning beds may offer you the desired effect almost immediately, but also come with many risk factors.
Invention of the Tanning Bed
In 1970, a German scientist named Friedrich Wolff used an ultraviolet tanning lamp to conduct research on the effects on athletes. He then noticed an unexpected side effect – the athletes developed tanned skin after sitting under the UV lamp. Having a golden tan was so popular in the 1970′s that Wolff applied his scientific knowledge to the development of the first indoor tanning bed.
History of the Tanning Bed
Discovering the popularity of tanning beds in Europe, American developers soon jumped into production. The first tanning beds produced in the US emitted high levels of UVB light, which did cause tanning, but also resulted in sunburn and skin disorders. More research was conducted and it was determined that tanning lamps containing higher percentages of UVA light could still produce a tan and would also be safer on the skin.
The Types of Tanning Beds
Tanning beds differ in the amount of UVB and UVA rays emitted. Low-pressure, medium-pressure and high-pressure tanning beds which are found at most tanning salons release higher levels of UVB rays, which are known to burn the skin, and lower levels of UVA rays. High-pressure tanning beds release greater amounts of UVA rays, penetrating deeper into the skin, and lower amounts of UVB, therefore are less damaging to the skin than low-pressure beds.
Features of Tanning Beds
Most tanning beds have bulbs on the surface you lay on as well as bulbs on the lid you pull down over you. The purpose of this is so you do not have to flip over. Some tanning beds also feature special bulbs built in for facial tanning which can be turned on or off, built-in timers, radios and fans. You may even find some tanning beds with built in misting machines and aromatherapy options.
Benefits of Tanning Beds
The main benefit of tanning beds is that you get a golden glow in a short amount of time no matter what the weather is outside. Tanning beds have also been known to produce other positive effects such as treating acne, muscle pain, and Seasonal Affective Disorder otherwise known as SAD.
Risk Factors posed by Tanning Beds
The risk factors that accompany tanning beds seem to outweigh the benefits. Prolonged exposure to any form of ultraviolet light increases chances for developing skin cancer. Tanning beds emit such powerful doses of ultraviolet light that they increase risks of health problems. Attention must be paid to any changes in the skin or a mole that includes scaling, itching, color change, size of mole, or bleeding. There is also the risk of developing cancer, cataracts and contracting infections such as or pubic lice, otherwise known as crabs, from tanning beds that are not properly sanitized. Infections could range from minor to major, so care must be taken at all times.