The Benefits and Risks of Tanning

It’s great to have a summer glow all year round. Tanning beds provide an immediate solution for pale skin, but did you know tanning beds may actually be even more dangerous than the sun because they emit mostly UVA rays. Of course there are a few benefits to tanning. Obviously, the most obvious benefit is developing a wonderful tan.

But how aware are you when it comes to knowing the risks of laying down in a tanning bed at the local tanning salon?

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Via The Skin Cancer Foundation:

A tan, whether you get it on the beach, in a bed, or through incidental exposure, is bad news, any way you acquire it. Tans are caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning lamps, and if you have one, you’ve sustained skin cell damage.

No matter what you may hear at tanning salons, the cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), as well as skin cancer. Indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.

SOME FACTS OF TANNING:

  1. The World Health Organization has determined that UV rays from tanning beds cause cancer.
  2. People who use tanning beds once a month before the age of 35 increase their melanoma risk by 75%.
  3. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, kills one person every 50 minutes.  It is the second most common cancer for young adults aged 15-29 years old. Rates for melanoma are increasing faster than nearly all other cancers.
  4. It doesn’t take a sunburn – tan skin is damaged skin
  5. For most people, 5-10 minutes of unprotected sun 2-3 times a week is enough to help your skin make Vitamin D, which is essential for your health. Getting more sun won’t increase your Vitamin D level, but it will increase your risk of skin cancer.

Tanning salons would lead you to believe that tanning is safer than it really is. The fact is, they are running a business, and your money is more important to them, not your long-term health. It is also important to remember that all sun exposure can be harmful to your skin. Not only tanning beds or laying on the beach, but everyday sun exposure is damaging to your skin and eyes. Experts suggest wearing sunscreen and protective eye-wear even on overcast days.

However, if you crave that glowing look, there are other options available. Nearly all salons have spray-tanning these days and methods and formulas have come a long way in the past few years. Even some of the lotions and sprays you can buy at the store are pretty decent. They’re not all the streaky, orange creams that you remember from your teenage years.

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During the winter (depending where you reside), you’re generally not showing a great deal of skin. A light bronzer on just your face and neck can work wonders. Now, that Spring is here more people are tanning, so please be aware of the risks of tanning.

To read more about the dangers of tanning beds,  please visit the Skin Cancer Foundation website at http://www.skincancer.org/healthy-lifestyle/tanning.