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Tanning beds, and tanning salons for that matter, have been a matter of public dispute since the very first moment they appeared. Namely, tanning beds use special lamps which create ultraviolet lights which enable one to expose him/herself to artificial sun ray effect, making his/her skin brown.

However, these rays are ultraviolet and can damage the skin, especially in cases of overexposure and high intensity of exposure. Therefore, there are many risks and myths related to the whole practice of using tanning beds in order to get you a summer tan without waiting for the proper time of the year to get it naturally. The lines below will allow you to see which exactly these are.

Indoor Tanning – Myths and Reality

First of all, most tanning salons invest quite a lot in their marketing, predominantly through claiming that there are no health dangers related to the ultraviolet exposure you opt for, once you step inside a tanning bed device. However, keep in mind that this may not be entirely true, since the rays emitted during this form of tanning are both UVA and UVB, both reaching through the deep layers of the skin, potentially triggering cancer and tissue damage, along with premature aging, immune system deterioration and severe eye damage.

Also, tanning salons tend to compare their devices with the natural alternative, claiming how you can tan safe inside a tanning bed than through spending time out on the beach sunbathing. Yet, this is a lie. Basically, the intensity of sun ray exposure changes in nature, with the clouds blocking the dangerous effects of the rays, and the sun emitting weaker rays during some parts of the day. On the other hand, once you enter a tanning bed, you get exposed to the same intensity of light, increasing your chances of getting burnt, whenever you go overboard.

Additionally, you might see a sign in front of a tanning salon, saying that indoor tanning is approved by the US Government or some other legislative apparatus. Do not fall for these tricks and rest assured that no organization of this type has ever claimed that tanning beds are completely safe and healthy, especially now, when we know more about these devices and the UVA and UVB radiation than ever before.

Finally, you may have heard stories about the incredible power of tanning beds to increase your bone health through boosting your vitamin D levels. Even though this is true, to a certain extent, you do not have to spend time tanning in order for your body to generate this vitamin. Rather, it is enough for you to spend about 15 minutes in the sun, three times a day for your organism to gain sufficient supplies of vitamin D. Moreover, you can provide it through proper nutrition, consuming low-fat milk, salmon, tuna and orange juice.

Cancer Risk

As it was mentioned above, tanning beds should not be taken lightly, since there are many different forms of health problems these can cause, the most dangerous being cancer.

In fact, scientists have proved that the most dangerous form of skin cancer, melanoma, is likely to evolve from skin burns, especially due to exposure to UVA and UVB rays. Furthermore, in July 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, being closely related to the WHO, stated that the UV radiation produced by these devices is more dangerous that we have previously considered it to be. Also, they said that long-term exposure to the rays emitted by tanning beds does trigger cancer, even though the process may take decades. Therefore, people younger than 18 are not advised to expose themselves to such forms of tanning, due to the risk of DNA damage, carcinoma formation, eye problems and many other health issues. Naturally, all older people should be very careful too, especially when we take the fact that people who use tanning beds have 75% greater chances of suffering from melanoma before turn 35 in consideration.

As far as other risks are concerned, tanning beds have been proven to cause premature aging, through wrinkling of the skin and a loss of elasticity. Additionally, the UVB rays affect one's immune system in a negative way, making people more prone to cancer and many other diseases. Finally, the UV radiation may trigger allergies and cause serious eye damage.

Tanning in Children and Teens

Children and teens, commonly being prone to visiting tanning salons, are the most endangered group, when it comes to developing diseases due to UV exposure. The FDA believes that children are more prone to suffering from sunburns and, so, they are advised to put sunscreen on every time they expose their bodies to the sun, wearing proper protective clothes as well.

Also, bearing in mind that a growing number of teenage girls use tanning beds, we should know that women who use these devices have 55% greater chances of developing melanoma. Children and teenagers do not grasp the health dangers related to such exposure and are not capable of rationally protecting themselves against it. Therefore, they need all the advice and support possible. Subsequently, many organizations have demanded for tanning beds to be banned for persons under the age of 18. Today, about 87% of salons require parental consent once a juvenile person seeks their services.

All in all, one thing is for sure, tanning salons are dangerous for your health, due to the fact that they contribute to the development of skin cancer, through the exposure to the harmful UVA and UVB rays, built inside the tanning beds.

So, be careful and keep yourself and your children properly protected from the sun and any dangerous forms of tanning bed usage.

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