Wow, can you even believe in 2018 that people are still going to tanning beds? That could be the end of the story right here, but let’s look into the hideous dangers of tanning beds for your skin and ultimately your health.
Tanning Beds are Everywhere
Unfortunately, there are tanning beds around each street corner. They are in gyms, salons, stand-alone tanning places, and people even purchase high-end tanning bed units for their own homes. People have the misconception that a tanning bed is safer than the UVA/UVB rays of the sun. Wrong-o. Sorry to tell you the bottom line truth, but tanning beds are actually worse in the long run than the sun. This is especially true if you are one of those people that goes to the tanning beds all year long to maintain that tan skin you’re so in love with.
The Science Behind Those Beds
The concept of tanning beds have been around since the 1800s as UV (ultra-violet) based lamps that could help people with skin issues. It didn’t hit the mainstream until famed fashion designer Coco Chanel said that tan skin was chic in Vogue Magazine in 1923. Then the public took to it like wildfire, trying to do anything and everything to get their skin to look like the models in the magazines.
Yet it wasn’t until the 70s that a full body tanning bed was created to cater to the demand for artificially tanned skin without the sun. These modern beds use large fluorescent lights that are wavelengths of light between 100-400 nm (nanometers). Don’t worry about the super science stuff, just know that when your skin is subjected to this UV light, it’s going to create a chemical reaction within your skin cells that are called melanocytes. It’s these melanocytes that produce the melanin in your skin creating the tan look. Furthermore, it can create freckles or dark spots (hyperpigmentation) all over your skin if you are prone to that issue.
Let’s Ask the Pros Who Know
Dr. Amy Paul of Mountain West Dermatology has a few important words about tanning beds that you need to hear.
“There is no safe level of UV exposure from tanning beds for aesthetic purposes.”
Did you hear that tanning bed fans? Going even further, you have to consider that all that exposure to those UV rays without protection (SPF!) is going to put you at a huge risk for getting melanoma in the future. Skin cancer. We will say it again. Using a tanning bed regularly is going to put you at a greater risk factor for skin cancer. This is serious stuff here that you need to think about each time you step into a tanning bed.
On a more superficial level, tanning beds are also going to make your skin age faster. Premature aging is a fact of excessive sun exposure without the right sunblock protection. We recommend that each time you go into the sun, even for incidental sun exposure (like walking to your car), you have on an SPF of at least 30. Each and every day. Trust us, for the sake of your health and wellness, stop going to the tanning beds because you might just end up in a coffin.
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