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Tanning Beds:  Advantages and Disadvantages

An outward sign of beauty, tanned skin has become a fashionable accessory all year round. As long as we are talking about a natural tan colour, it catches the eye and gives an exotic and natural air, highlighting a person's physical traits or emphasizing the colour of the eyes or the hair.

Nowadays, apart from the traditional sunbathing, there are many other effective ways to have a beautiful tanned skin: self-tanning lotions, creams, or tanning beds.

Sunbeds represent the fastest way to get a beautiful artificial tan. However, before undergoing such a treatment, it would be useful to know the advantages and disadvantages of this procedure.

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A tanning bed is a device that emits ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB), a radiation that stimulates the production of melanin (i.e. the pigment that determines the skin colour). While UVA oxidizes the melanin in the skin, thus producing a short-term quick tan, the UVB radiation increases the production of melanin in the skin and produces a delayed tanning (72 hours after the actual exposure).

There are two types of tanning:

1 UV Tanning (suntan)

2 Tanning without UV rays (organic tanning): the method of tanning without sun exposure is performed using a spray, whose main components are: DHA (dihydroxyacetone), and Erythrulose.

The benefits of tanning beds:

  • Inducing a good mental state, positive and optimistic;
  • Convenience and speed of the procedure. Getting a long-lasting, even tan all over the body;
  • Synthesis of vitamin D, which helps to boost calcium in the body and improves the immune system;
  • Treatment of skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, vitiligo, and acne.

Possible risks:

  • Burns and irritation. Too much UVB radiation can cause burns and skin inflammations;
  • Increased risk of skin cancer. The skin is practically assaulted, in a very short time, by artificial UV rays, which are much more intense than natural ones;
  • Premature skin ageing. UV rays penetrate deeper into the skin, destroying collagen and the dermis’ connective tissue, so the skin becomes rough, thickened, stained, wrinkled and loses elasticity;
  • Eye damage. Artificial UV rays are responsible for inflammations of the cornea, triggering cataract, keratitis, conjunctivitis, and even ocular cancer;
  • Changes in the immune system. Continuous exposure to ultraviolet radiation decreases the efficiency of the immune system and increases the probability of acquiring certain infectious diseases;
  • Photo-allergenic reactions characterized by erythema, blisters and itching.

You should not expose yourself to UV if:

  • you are under 18;
  • you have white skin, blond or red hair;
  • you have a large number of moles, precancerous skin lesions or suffer from infectious skin diseases (herpes, shingles) that can be aggravated by sun exposure;
  • you take medicines that contain photosensitizing substances: antidepressants, contraceptives, antifungals, antibiotics, antidiabetics;
  • you are pregnant or you are breastfeeding.

Some useful tips to be followed when using tanning beds:

  • Use goggles;
  • Do not exceed the recommended time for tanning;
  • Do not use cosmetics before tanning sessions;
  • Do not expose to sunlight or ultraviolet rays within 48 hours after the tanning session;
  • Use moisturizers after each exposure session.

Specialists say that artificial tanning can have adverse effects on your health; however, uncontrolled and excessive exposure to sunlight is not a good alternative either.

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