Helpful advice regarding the use of sunbeds.
Sunbed tanning not only grants you a beautiful skin colour, but also greatly improves your mood.
Here we will cover:
- How to reduce the risks of using a sunbed
- Who shouldn’t use tanning beds at all
- Tanorexia – addiction to tanning.
- Sunbed tanning: how to use sunbeds
Sunbed tanning not only grants you a beautiful skin colour, but also greatly improves your mood. Tanning accelerates endorphin (happiness hormones) production in your body. Unfortunately, it’s a pleasure that you should treat yourself with in moderation – UVA rays emitted by tanning lamps can be harmful to your skin.
Lamps used in tanning beds were designed to mostly emit long UVA rays. Until recently it was thought that this kind of radiation is much less harmful than UVB rays – fully blamed for the risk of burns. Now we know that UVA radiation is equally dangerous and can also lead to skin burns.
Advice about using sunbeds
Cumulative UV radiation results in premature skin ageing. UVA radiation is able to reach deep layers of your skin leading to collagen and elastin fibers damage. It also promotes thickening of the Stratum corneum ( horny layer in Latin ) which makes your skin less flexible and rough to the touch. Blood vessels, hair and nails are also affected.
Sunbed tanning may also lead to skin cancer, because UV radiation is one of the major creators of free radicals. Tanning salons customers are primarily at risk of melanoma, which is the most serious type of skin cancer and one of the most malignant tumors in humans. Melanoma rates among young people have increased significantly in recent years because of over-exposure to UV radiation.
However, this doesn’t always mean that one shouldn’t visit a salon. There are ways to reduce the risks.
How to reduce the risks
- Make sure to only visit verified tanning salons. If anything raises your suspicions, immediately leave and choose a different salon. Salons registered with “The Sunbed Association” are usually a safe bet.
- Use only high quality sunbeds, from top manufacturers, Ergoline, megaSun and HAPRO are the best brands. They are trusted by companies worldwide.
- Use only disposable paper towels, slippers and underwear.
- Thoroughly check the sunbed you are going to use. It needs to be disinfected after every customer. If it hasn’t been, ask a member of staff.
- Remember to avoid using deodorants and perfumes before tanning; same goes for anti-acne products, especially those with vitamin A and AHA acids. It’s possible these products can create a thin barrier on the skin, reducing the outcome of your tan.
- Apply protective sunscreen lotion with SPF prior to tanning. It might affect your tan and make it less intense but you should first and foremost think about your safety.
- Always wear eye protection, because extended exposure to UV rays has been linked to eye damage, including cataracts. Closing your eyes isn’t enough to protect your sight.
- Apply moisturizer after tanning.
It’s not possible to exactly specify time and frequency of sunbed sessions safe for a particular skin type. However, it’s safe to say the general rule is: Tan in moderation. Be sure to remember that 15 minutes in a sunbed is equally dangerous as a whole day spent laying out in the sun.
Harmfulness of sunbed tanning doesn’t depend solely on radiation it emits. Reliability of the tanning salon owner is also one of the factors you should take account of. Tanning lamps need to be systematically replaced, because after certain time they might no longer meet safety requirements. This may lead to increased risk of burns. Of course this may also mean that the lamps become less effective.
UV radiation helps alleviate symptoms of some dermatological diseases, such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and solar urticaria. However it should be used as a medical procedure only under strict medical supervision. Over-exposure may even lead to worsening of the patient’s condition. Many people think that tanning may help people with acne problems. The truth is, it might actually work for a while, until tanned skin gets dry and starts to produce even more sebum than usual.
Tanorexia – addiction to tanning
Psychological dependence on tanning. It’s a condition in which a person perceive themselves as unacceptably pale. A person affected is not able to see what excessive tanning does to their skin. No matter how tan a person is they never think they are tan enough, completely ignoring rapid skin aging and unnatural look.
Who shouldn’t use tanning beds at all?
- People with very light hair and fair skin, and all those that have lots of moles.
- Also people with connective tissue diseases (for example lupus)
- pregnant women
- Women using birth control pills and smokers
- People taking other photosensitizing medications (painkillers, some antibiotics, chemotherapeutics, psychiatric medication)