The Dangers of Tanning Beds

The Dangers of Tanning Beds

The next time you have an urge to go to the tanning salon, you may want to rethink that. Research has discovered that the main kind of ultraviolet rays in tanning beds reach a deeper layer of skin even more vulnerable to cancer causing changes. Cumulative damage like this brings signs of aging... lax skin, brown spots, wrinkles, not to mention melanoma.

What people, especially young people, need to understand is that whether you get your tan from the beach, a tanning bed, or incidental exposure, that glowing brown color a signal of skin cell damage.

There was a study conducted that involved 12 participants  exposed to both UVA1 (rays from tanning beds) and UVB rays. Even though UVB waves were exposed shorter, both doses used in the study were equal to that used for tanning in both of the two spectrums.

The UVA1 rays caused more damage to the deeper basal skin layer than UVB light, and caused more lesions known as thymine dimers in this region.

The interesting fact was that UVB rays brought a large number of these type of lesions overall, but they weren't as deep into the skin, and are thought less likely to bring the changes that come with skin cancer.

Tanning indoors has been likened to smoking for the skin, not only because of the increased risk of skin cancer but also in terms of aging prematurally.

It is possible that you may have seen ads for tanning salons that suggest time spent in tanning can help increase the body's natural production of vitamin D, the so called sunshine vitamin. And while vitamin D is so good for you, you don't need a tanning session to get it. See the link on how to get vitamin D from various sources that does not include the sun ( 

A few moments of natural sunlight a few times each week is all it takes to get the vitamin D you need. It is important to remember that people can burn using tanning beds, and both the levels of UVA1 and UVB you get are poisonous.

Teenagers are especially at risk. Of course kids this age feel immortal, but the truth is they aren't, even though aging and skin cancer seem so far away. It's important for young people to realize that melanoma doesn't just effect of old people. It can be growing and spreading without you feeling sick, in a patch of skin you might not even notice.

Industry spokespeople point out that the latest study looks at ultraviolet radiation. UVA1 comes from the sun as well.  That means that being outside exposed to sunshine and indoor tanning offer identical risks and benefits, as long as you don't burn the skin. 

Experts believe the sun protection products on the market today need regulation - it's also critical for consumers, particularly young women who use tanning beds more than men, to be educated about the tanning bed dangers associated with indoor UVA tanning.