Tanning Beds



Exposure Times Determined By Tanning Bed Light

In the early days of tanning salons, it was not unusual for over zealous tanners to achieve a sunburn on their first try. This was because the tanning bed light emitted shortwave ultraviolet light, which is known to burn the outer layer of skin quickly.

During those first years the Food and Drug Administration, reacting to the number of persons seen in hospital emergency rooms with severe sunburns and eye problems, developed strict regulations covering the manufacture and use of artificial tanning devices including tanning bed lights. The Federal Trade Commission is charged with handling complaints about tanning equipment and manufacturers.

The industry then developed what is known as UVA bulbs, longwave ultraviolet light, which it claimed was safer and would not cause sunburns as easily. After careful study of the new tanning bed light bulbs, the FDA extended the recommended exposure times. The manufacturer, however, must provide information on the tanning bed light bulbs in their equipment and this can usually be found posted in most salons.

Different Size Beds For Different Purposes

Devices to aid in tanning can be as small as a single 850 Watt device with the light able to be focused on one area of the body. Tanning devices, however, come in ranges of one with six tanning bed light bulbs that tan one side at a time, up to the large clamshell beds with 24 tanning bed light bulbs. The majority of home tanning beds require nothing more than a 120 Volt electric outlet making them true plug-n-play devices.

Some of the 24 and 26 tanning bed light bulb beds require 220 Volt outlets, and are usually used in commercial tanning salons. A majority are equipped with longwave ultraviolet tanning bed light bulbs with a maximum exposure time of 20 minutes a day. Some manufacturers claim their bulbs will last for 500 hours of use. With a 20-minute daily exposure, the tanning bed light bulbs should last approximately four years if used by one person daily.

Some of the home and professional tanning beds come equipped with both shortwave and longwave ultraviolet tanning bed light bulbs, claimed to speed up the tanning process. It is known that shortwave ultraviolet light affects the outer skin and is what causes sunburn even after short exposure. The longwave ultraviolet light affects the skin from underneath and, while not burning skin as fast, can cause other skin problems if exposed for too long a time period.