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A friend recently told me that she was considering going to a tanning salon for a bit of color in her skin and wanted to know what I thought. While I didn't feel that I should make the decision for her, I did think it was important that she understood the risks inherent in tanning (any expert will tell you that tanned skin is damaged skin).

There is confusion regarding the safety of tanning beds and depending on who you talk to, they are either completely safe or a risky venture. And although I've written about [Link Removed] before, I still get asked a lot of questions about tanning in general. I think it's a topic important enough to cover again.

How Do Tanning Beds Work?

Tanning beds, sunbeds and tanning booths all work by using devices that emit ultraviolet radiation (typically in the ratio of 95% UVA and 5% UVB). The higher ratio of UVA rays contributes to tanning, while the lower amount of UVB rays helps to minimize the chances of you burning.

Because of the ultraviolet rays, exposure to tanning beds carries the same risk as unprotected exposure to the sun. In fact, the World Health Organization has recently upgraded the classification of UV-emitting devices, such as tanning beds, from a probable carcinogen (cancer causing substance) to a known carcinogen. What this means is that tanning beds are no longer something we think probably causes cancer – we know they cause cancer. Additionally, research done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer shows that being exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases your risk of melanoma (skin cancer). Overexposure to UV rays are also known to cause cataracts, suppress the immune system and cause premature skin aging. All reasons to avoid UV tanning devices for cosmetic reasons.

What does the tanning industry have to say about this? In a [Link Removed] , Kathy Banks, chief executive of The Sunbed Association, a European trade association of tanning bed makers and operators, disputed the classification of tanning beds as carcinogenic. "The fact that is continuously ignored is that there is no proven link between the responsible use of sunbeds and skin cancer," Banks said in a statement.

I don't know about you, but I'm placing my trust in the WHO. If you still crave that glow, do it safely and consider a self tanner. View our [Link Removed]
/Department.aspx?DeptID=689&/.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed]
For a limited time, Fabulously 40 members save 5% off all purchases. Code fab40 at checkout.


Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote May 12, 2010
    • My question is....why would you want to cook your skin to the point it looks like leather???  Who wants leather for skin?  Also...who wants to risk getting a melanoma....or having a doctor carve all in your face or body?  I guess some people go for that tanned carved up look.  

      I hate tanning beds!!
      Great article............I wish the beds were banned....



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pharmagirl wrote May 12, 2010
    • Mary
      Still so much mis-information regarding tanning and the UV rays. It’ll take time, but people will start to get the message...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote May 12, 2010
    • The sad thing is...how many people have to DIE before they realize these things are really dangerous and the skin cancer is starting earlier and earlier due to teenagers laying in these things all the time?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote May 14, 2010
    • Great article! I used to be one of those up till my early 30’s. Then I got smart and  went pasty. Thankfully tho I have found a good self tanner to help cut the edge off of my blindingly whiteness. And thankfully they make good moisturizing ones too.
      I have been able to get both my dauhters to quit the tanning beds. So now I just need  to work on them using sunscreen.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kandykahne 5 wrote May 14, 2010
    • Great information. I’ve never used a tanning bed. I use self tanner and if I am out in the sun a sunscreen. Also, think of the bacteria that can be in the tanning beds if they are not cleaned properly...gross!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      KRIS JULIN wrote May 14, 2010
    • I am afraid I disagree with you on this one.Indoor tanning provides a level of control that cannot be obtained outdoors. I use a tanning bed for 15 minutes every 2 weeks. It would take me hours to get the same tan in natural sunlight and can cause sunburn.  I am not prepared to take the risk of getting a sunburn which causes more likely risks then using UV light on my body for 30 mins a month.  I have a constant tan.  In addition I am less likely to burn when I am exposed to the sun for a long period of time.  I go on a lot of trails in the desert and very high temps.  I have never once had a sun burn, as I already have the base tan.

      I use the best tanning lotions in the world and protect my skin

      I have great skin and I go for yearly physicals and am healthier now then I have ever been

      Lastly, when I did not have a tan, I was not happy with myself, which is a cause of Vit D deficency in the body, which is got by sunlight.

      Thus, that is why there is a huge problem with women in the Middle East who wear Burkas, they do not get the Vit D and most generally fall sick due to lack of sunlight.

      That is my opinion and I am very happy with my tanning choice.estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote May 15, 2010
    • Personally...I love to be tanned but whether it’s a tanning bed or the God given sun....too much is not a good thing.
      It’s a proven fact that skin cancer has increased...and in much younger women...and this is due to the tanning beds.  I guess everything is okay in moderation but I’m just not willing to take that chance.  

      Right now, I’m dealing with sun poisoning (I think) that I got over a month ago.  Stupid me didn’t put on sunscreen and I’ve been paying for that for a month now. I agree Vitamin D is essential but again in moderation.  You can still get the Vitamin D but with some sunscreen.  Who doesn’t like sunshine?  I certainly do but I just think you have to be very careful.



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