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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Tanning Beds Q & A

Please don't use tanning beds!
Which is worse, lying out in the sun without sunscreen or using a full spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen in a tanning salon?

One of the “benefits” of sun exposure vs. tanning bed exposure is you will get a sunburn if you stay in the sun too long. Sun rays emit a lot more UVB (the rays that tan and burn the skin) than a tanning bed does. In fact, this is one of the selling points at a tanning salon—there is less of the UVB radiation, so your skin won’t burn. But burning is your body’s natural warning mechanism, telling you to get out of the sun! Whenever you’ve gotten sunburned, it is doubtful you went out for more sun immediately afterwards. More than likely, you protected your sunburned skin and avoided further exposure until the burn went away. With tanning beds you don’t burn, so you could conceivably stay in them much longer and create much more damage than if you were in the sun.

The answer to this question, although I wouldn’t recommend either scenario, is to stay out of the tanning beds under any circumstance. Why? Tanning beds are worse than sun exposure. You get accelerated UV damage, and no matter how you slice it, tanning beds should be avoided at all costs.

You may be going to a tanning salon to get a “base tan” before a vacation, or to get some color in the winter when you feel like you look too “white.” You may be trying to avoid getting a sunburn while on vacation, but if you get color from the beds, in theory protecting your skin, doesn’t that mean you’ll be prone to spending more time outside in the sun—perhaps even unprotected? In theory, this preparation mentality is understandable; in practice, it just means more sun damage—first from the tanning bed, and then from more exposure than you would normally be able to tolerate from the sun.

Obviously, I am not trying to sugarcoat the truth of going to a tanning bed. It is dangerous and will have long-term and long-lasting effects. Any pleasure you get from the change in your skin’s color is far outweighed by the fact you are damaging otherwise healthy cells. If you want to age faster and create an environment for cancer in your skin, go to a tanning bed as often as you can. Why wait? You could cause all kinds of damage sooner rather than later.

Also see:
AGING MACHINES: Don't use them!!!