Indoor Tanning Vs. Sun Exposure

The latest researches in the field claim that indoor tanning can be as dangerous as sun exposure. And this simply happens because the risks of overexposing yourself to UV rays are practically the same, no matter if the rays come directly from the sun or from the ‘artificial sun’ in a tanning bed or tan tablet.

This doesn’t catch you by surprise, does it? Now, if we look at this from a different perspective, if the risks are similar, so should be the benefits. And, just like many other things in life, the secret of healthy vs. unhealthy UV rays exposure lies in the dosage. Avoiding sun is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

Things you are missing by shunning the sun

The right dose of sun exposure is one of the best ways to optimize your body’s vitamin D levels. However, if you are not able to get sufficient sunshine, then the next best option is high quality tanning beds. Avoiding the sun increases the risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. And this matter should not be taken lightly, as vitamin D is responsible for preventing chronic diseases, such as:

•Cardiovascular diseases: vitamin D plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of atherosclerotic heart diseases, heart attacks, hypertension and strokes. According to recent studies, a vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of heart attacks with almost 50%.

•Infections, including influenza: vitamin D also helps your body efficiently fight many types of infections. Optimizing the body’s vitamin D levels can be more prudent and less expensive than getting vaccinated against flu.

•Autoimmune diseases: vitamin D is a very powerful immune modulator, thus playing a vital role in preventing autoimmune diseases, such as inflammatory bowel diseases or multiple sclerosis (MS).

•Metabolic processes and DNA repair: studies show that vitamin D is responsible for improving DNA repair, having beneficial effects on autoxidation (a process that occurs in the presence of UV radiation and oxygen, and which has important implications for cancer or aging), efficiently boosting the immune system, or considerably improving other biological processes.

Which are the benefits of UV rays beyond vitamin D?

Though the main argument when discussing about the benefits of UV rays exposure is usually the vitamin D optimization, UVB exposure has many other positive health effects that have absolutely nothing to do with vitamin D. And it doesn’t really matter if the exposure comes directly from the sun or an efficient, high quality tanning bed.

To give an example, UV rays exposure can enhance the release of endorphins (thus improving your mood), and can even reduce fibromyalgia pain. In addition, there are several skin diseases that can be efficiently treated through phototherapy or sun exposure:
• Auto-immune diseases (e.g. Crohn’s syndrome, etc.)
• Vitiligo
• Atopic dermatitis
• Psoriasis

Despite the popular belief, even the UVA radiation can have its benefits: UVA produces nitric oxide (NO), an acid that can reduce blood pressure and which has an overall beneficial effect on our cardiovascular health. What’s more, the UVA radiation has an important antimicrobial effect.

To sum up, no matter what type of sun exposure you are using (i.e. natural or artificial), it is extremely important to avoid getting burned and use exposure sensibly. This way, you will not only get an enviable tan, but you will also keep your skin healthy and protected.

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