Tanning salons have become increasingly popular in the past few years as they offer a quick and easy way to reverse the effects of winter pastiness. Although tanning was once associated with vitality and health, in more recent years it has been found that ultraviolet rays are extremely harmful to your health.
Tanning is a product of both UVA (rays responsible for the oxidized melanin granules that turn your skin tan) and UVB rays (rays that are required to stimulate the melanin granules to rise to the surface of your skin). These rays penetrate the skin and create a reaction that gives it a darkened or reddened color. Overexposure to UVA and UVB rays has been linked to a weakened immune system, premature aging, wrinkles and skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamos cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Tanning indoors does not make it any healthier or less dangerous. In fact, tanning beds are more harmful than the sun’s rays. The UV rays produced by tanning beds are three times as strong as those produced by the sun. According to the National Cancer Institute, women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55 percent more likely to develop malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.
If you have a serious desire to appear tan but are concerned about your health, my recommendations include mist or spray tanning. Chemical sprays that dye your skin are completely safe.
Many people say that they only visit tanning salons prior to a vacation in order to get a “base tan.” The “base tanners” often explain that if they are already tan, they will not burn or have as much damage to their skin when they spend time in the sun because their skin will have built up a tolerance for the sun and UV rays. This belief could not be more wrong. The UV rays from the tanning beds thin your skin, making it less capable of healing later on. This means your skin will be more apt to burning and/or damage when exposed to sunlight.
I have a hard time understanding why people would sacrifice their health just for a bronzed complexion. In my research, however, I discovered that tanning has more than an aesthetic value. According to several studies, the UV rays in tanning beds provide tanners with Vitamin D just like the sun does. Vitamin D is recognized as a combatant of the depressive effects of winter months and as a restorer of feelings of pleasure.
This may explain why some people revisit tanning salons despite repeated warnings about their health – they may actually be developing an addiction to the emotional effects tanning salons can have. It is important to note that Vitamin D can also be found in several foods, so if you truly believe in the emotional benefits of Vitamin D, you can load up on foods rich in Vitamin D, like seafood, dairy products and eggs.
If, despite all these warnings, you still choose to visit a tanning salon, realize that you do significantly increase your chances of getting skin cancer. People with fair skin are particularly at risk. It is also important to don protective eye goggles prior to lying down in a tanning bed – if you are going to choose to damage your skin, you should at least try and protect your eyes from any harm that could result from exposure to the UV lights.
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