Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Costly radiation: tanning beds—unnatural UVA exposure

Tanning beds, or as I call them, “cancer beds,” are like a microwave is to a conventional oven in terms of sunlight. They emit accelerated and irregular UV radiation, amounting to abnormal UV exposure. The sun puts out ultraviolet light in a particular intensity and proportion. Tanning beds rearrange how these light rays are being emitted. And who really knows what the effects are on the human body? Do you want to be a guinea pig in an experiment involving ultraviolet radiation?

Many people are using tanning beds thinking they are safe. Unknowing tanning salon members are usually told the beds don’t emit UVB radiation, and that their skin won’t burn and they can tan “safely” without any worries. Wrong! Although people who use a tanning bed will be getting less UVB than if they were in the sun, they are still receiving more UVA (2 to 3 times more) than from natural sunlight.

While UVA doesn’t cause as many exterior signs of damage, it does cause tremendous damage you cannot see. As you may know, UVA causes long-term damage, such as premature aging through damaging collagen and elastin fibers. UVA can also damage DNA, causing possible skin cancer risks in the future. There are several articles on this blog about the different affects of the UV rays, one is listed below with a link.

Another negative to predominantly UVA exposure is you have virtually no warning signs of overexposure. Personally, I think any exposure to the radiation from a tanning bed is too much. When overexposed to UVB, your skin will turn pink, then burn and feel painful. You won’t have these warning signs with overexposure to UVA. Later in life you may notice a rapid increase in lines and wrinkles along with overly flaccid (loose) skin. You may have cancerous or precancerous lesions making their presence known. But by then, of course, it’s too late to undo the damage done from time spent in a tanning salon.

So keep in mind that when you get this kind of unnatural UV exposure, you will essentially have no warning signal if you’ve received too much radiation. Unfortunately, some people feel impervious to these consequences. Even though they know tanning beds are bad for them, they continue to use them anyway—even if it’s just once in a while—truly throwing caution to the wind.

Fortunately, more and more information is being accumulated about the dangerous effects of this unnatural type of UV exposure. I have yet to read an article on tanning beds that gives them the stamp of approval. The only place you can find encouragement to use these radiation beds is in the brochures handed out by the tanning salons themselves. Don’t be fooled; these beds are dangerous—in the short-term and definitely in the irreversibly damaging long run.

For more information, see: