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Having a prettier and darker tan has become increasingly popular nowadays. In order to have such a tan, most turn to sunbeds and solariums. However, the truth is that neither sunbeds nor solariums provide a safe tan. Exposure to ultraviolet or UV radiation is known to increase the risk of skin cancer drastically. It is not just the UV radiation from the sun that is damaging for the health but ultraviolet radiation from the solariums is damaging as well. Apart from increasing the risk of skin cancer, there are certain other damaging effects on the health from the radiation, such as eye damage and instant skin damage in forms of sunburn, irritation, redness and swelling.

Facts about solariums

A solarium is a general name for the several ways in which a person may tan his or her skin. A solarium works by using ultraviolet radiation in order to provide the tan. Other names which are mainly used for this purpose are sunbeds, sunlamps and tanning beds. It is important to know that using a solarium to get tanned is not a safe way to achieve that. There are a lot of damaging effects a solarium has on the skin. Apart from the skin, a solarium can cause damage to the eyes as well. It is a popular belief that if a person is safe from natural ultraviolet radiation from the sun if he or she has a solarium tan but that is not true. This particular problem is pretty common in Australia. According to the data, the number of solariums in Melbourne alone has increased by 600% over the decade to 2006. However, a certain campaign about the dangers from UV radiation made a difference and the number of solariums decreased by 51% in a period between 2006 and 2008. In the year 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared tanning beds as carcinogenic to humans and placed them into the highest cancer risk category. According to the data in Australia, there are 281 melanoma cases and 43 melanoma-related deaths every year caused by solarium use. In addition to this, there are more than 2,500 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma per year as well. A solarium tan is not a safe tan

The data shows that in apart from increasing the risk of skin cancer, use of tanning beds plays an important role in premature aging of the skin as well. According to the experts, a person who uses a solarium before he or she turns 35 has a 75% more chance of developing melanoma than a person who does not go to the solarium. The risk increases drastically if a person continues to use the solarium. The risk also depends on the age at which a person has used the solarium for the first time. The younger the person is the greater the risk. The radiation from the solarium is not the same as the one from the sun. According to the researchers, solariums produce concentrated doses of UV radiation which can be even three times the strength of the sun at midday, in summer. That means that the ultraviolet index in solariums is as high as 36. Some solariums are thought even to exceed this number. UVA radiation is thought to be the most of the radiation which is used in solariums. This type of radiation is known to penetrate even the deepest layer of the skin. It is also known to cause deterioration of the skin, premature aging, loss of elasticity, occurrence of wrinkles, reduction of collagen levels and blotchiness and pigmentation. Skin cancer is a strong possibility as well. On the other hand, UVB radiation is the other part of the radiation which is used in a solarium. According to the experts, this type of radiation is a lot more dangerous than UVA radiation. UVB radiation is known to penetrate the uppermost layer of the skin and be the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer. Apart from them, a person may also experience minor skin irritations like rashes, dryness and itchiness.

Skin cancer and other damage

The experts have established that there is a total lifetime dose of UV radiation and every time skin gets exposed to either the sun or a solarium, that dose of UV radiation increases. Due to that fact, the damage that the skin suffers adds up. Skin cancer is one of the most dangerous health effects a person can experience due to exposure to UV radiation. Up until recently it was believed that only UVB radiation cause skin cancer but it is now known that UVA causes it as well. Eye damage is also a possibility. Cornea may get inflamed due to the exposure to the radiation and the sight may get damaged. Temporary blindness and cataracts occur most often. Apart from these, a trip to the solarium can also cause skin irritation, sunburn and even certain damage to the immune system. However, the experts are still unsure how exactly the radiation damages the immune system.

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