Tanning Bed Health Risks: Is It Worth It?
We all know that the sun can be unhealthy for us. Similarly, we know that tanning can be unhealthy for us. However, UV radiation is a fact of life that you cannot avoid. There is no way to get around it. So for those of us who actively pursue that perfect tan by using the tanning beds, the question becomes is the health risk of the tanning bed worth benefits of the tanning bed?
The Informed Consumer: What Are The Health Risks Of Tanning?
As far as sunburns go, tanning beds are moderately better for you than the outdoors. The main reason for this is because the short-wave ultraviolet rays, or UVB rays are the specific radiation frequency that causes sunburn in epidermis.
The tanning beds are able to find the perfect balance, between giving you UVB rays and UVA rays. UVA rays causes the pigment cells, the cells that actually tan, move closer to the surface of the skin, exposing them the UVB rays, causing you to get a better tan. So, while the UVA rays of a tanning bed are as many as four times more powerful than the sun, it is the UVB rays that actually cause the burning and the cancer. It is, of course, a health risk of tanning.
However, you can and most likely still will get a sunburn from a tanning bed. Each person is different and each tanning bed is pre-set to a certain amount of UVA and UVB rays, typically the average. In reality, few people are truly average when it comes to pigmentation. Therefore, if you tan, you will burn. However, the tan is most likely going to be less severe than a similar amount of time in the actual sunshine, simply because you can actually control the levels of UVB radiation, making the overall health risk of tanning somewhat less.
Tanning bed health risks are just that—risks. There are risks, the foremost one of these is of course cancer. Everyone is terrified of cancer, paranoid about contracting if from everywhere and everything—tanning beds at this point just seems like a likely candidate. While it is a health risk to tan in excess, most thing are a health risk if done in excess. The idea here is that you need be informed about your decisions; for some people, tanning is a good experience and is healthy—but for other people the health risks greatly increase and it is really not the best choice one could make.