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Dangerof Tanning Beds

Tanningbeds are machines that generate artificial rays of ultraviolet lightto tan the skin. The health risks involved in using tanning beds have been hotly debated ever since they were first widely available, andthe risks of overexposure to UV light for even longer than that.Lately, the risk from using tanning beds has been decreasing due tonew equipment that almost eliminates the harmful UVB light from thebeds, along with a shorter exposure time to the light than one wouldhave while sunbathing.

Thereare two types of ultraviolet rays: UVA, which cause less burningbecause they penetrate deeper into the skin, and the short-wave UVB,which affects the outermost layer of the skin and tends to causeburning much more frequently. The latter is the one responsible forthe health risks involved in tanning and has been almost eliminatedin tanning bed bulbs in the last few decades. New research has led togovernment regulations being installed that control the amount of UVBin these bulbs, making the tanning beds much safer than in previousdecades. Tanning salons are a good idea for the health-conscioustanner, as they allow tanning in a controlled, carefully timed andmeasured environment. Those employed at these salons should be awareof the risks as well as their clients' age, skin condition, medicalhistory and history of previous tanning.

WhyUse Tanning Beds?

Thelevel of control one has over the UV light in tanning salons make itpreferable for these purposes, since natural sunbathing has so manyuncontrollable variables that can negatively affect the process, UVBrays being a major contributor to the risk factor.

Skincancer is still a concern for some people, even thought tanning bedshave become a lot safer in the last 20 years or so. Apparently, thereremains a link between malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer) andUVA rays. Extended exposure to natural or artificial UV light canpossibly cause skin cells to develop conditions that can lead tocancer. A combination of both types of UV rays is thought to cause 2different kinds of cancer, squamous cell and basal cell.

Interestingly,most of the studies into skin cancer cannot conclusively provewhether it was indoor (tanning bed) or outdoor (direct sunlight) UVlight that was the cause. Thus, if concerned about the risk of skincancer from sunbathing, indoor tanning is a great alternative thatcould prove to be safer in the long run. Be sure to select a tanningsalon that is up to date with regards to its equipment.

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