Indoor tanning associated with many risks, benefits

Holly Hitchen

Artificial tanning in booths or beds is a practice that can be very harmful. The biggest risk associated with indoor tanning centers around the use of concentrated ultraviolet rays. The rays produced naturally by the sun are two to three times weaker than those produced by booths or beds, making artificial tanning more harmful than laying in the sun.

The UV rays may alter skin’s DNA causing cancerous growths. The most common type of cancer associated with tanning is Melanoma, a form of skin cancer. However, if caught early enough, Melanoma is treatable and nearly 100% curable.

As harmful as tanning is, there are some surprising benefits. UV rays help the body to produce Vitamin D. Decreased levels of Vitamin D have been liked to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. UV rays can also help to strengthen bones. Tanning in general has also been linked to some mental health benefits since individuals report that when they have a tan they feel thinner, better looking and generally happier.

Regardless, overexposure to UV rays is never healthy and sunscreen should always be used.

Tips for Safe Tanning

-Before you go make sure to clean your skin of makeup, creams and perfumes that make the skin more susceptible to sunburn.

-Moisturize skin with SPF lotion before and after tanning sessions to prevent excessive UV penetration.

-Keep gaps of at least two days between sessions.

-Choose lamps with low UVB rays for a darker, longer lasting tan and don’t stay in a bed for more than 10 to 15 minutes.

-Don’t tan completely nude. Instead, protect sensitive areas of the body not normally exposed to sunlight.

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