There are enthusiastic and intrepid salons that definitely try to persuade us with tempting packages such as unlimited tanning with discounts in monthly fee, tanning beds and sun lamps that guarantee to give you a 'bronzed' look within 30 minutes, etc. As mercury dips below zero in many places and journey prospects get lessened to get a chance at sun bath, tanning salons become alluring and hard to resist with their 'so affordable' packages!
Moreover, some salons advocating these tanning beds have changed their tactics of campaigning by promoting the increased vitamin D gain by skin. Few others already started claiming that tanning helps to lessen the risks of osteoporosis. But wait. Well, these beds can certainly offer you a fast all-over tan, but they also come with the dangers of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
What is Tanning?
Naturally, when we are exposed to sun, the production of a pigment known as melanin starts, which itself acts as a deterrent to the burning effects of ultraviolet rays of sun. This produced pigment of melanin darkens tone the skin, in other words, it produces the tan. This production of tan in the presence of ultraviolet rays is known as tanning. Tanning is also done artificially with the help of tanning beds or sun lamps. But even exposure to tanning beds can have serious adverse effects than you probably can think of.
Dangers of Tanning in a Tanning Bed
- The emissions from tanning beds chiefly consists of ultraviolet rays. There are two types of ultraviolet radiations known as Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA, a longer wave radiation, has been identified as a cause for a deeper penetrating radiation.
- The biggest culprit is probably UVB, a short wave radiation, which has long been linked with sunburn effects. Moreover, it is the one which is responsible for malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
- UV radiations from the bed can also affect our immune system adversely. It also causes premature aging of the skin, which leads to rather crumpled and gristly appearance. Recent studies have even suggested that people who used tanning beds are 2.5-times more prone to risks of basal cell carcinoma, while 1.5-times more vulnerable to the occurrence of squamous cell carcinoma.
- People using the tanning-bed are more susceptible than those who had natural sun exposure previously.
- People who choose to tan in salons using tanning beds are approaching increased risk of developing skin cancer. This is particularly true in case of periodical tanning which occurs at a continuous frequency over relatively long period. As the amount of damage to the epithelial cells of skin accumulates, it increases the risk of melanoma.
- Unfortunately, skin aging and skin cancer are the delayed effects that usually come to surface after many years. So, the damage done by this ultra violet ray emissions is not immediately apparent, people in their teen ages are often unaware of the dangers of tanning. In US alone, around 1 million cases of new skin cancer cases have been reported last year.
- It is important to note that teens are at a greater risk, as they are still witnessing tremendous cellular growth in their body at that particular age. Due to the increased multiplication rate of skin cells at this time, they are more prone to the dangers.
- It also poses a great risk of sunburn. Medically, our skin has been classified into five types out of which skin type I and II are more susceptible for skin burns due to the prolonged use of tanning beds.
- Eyes of frequent users are more exposed to the threat of cataracts and corneal burns from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays.
It is highly recommended that you should exam yourself and look for any irregular growing or changing lesions. In self exams, it is better to know the ABCD's. Check the moles having Asymmetry (a condition where two halves of mole are not symmetrical to each other), Border Irregularity (a condition in which edge of moles are usually tattered and uneven), Color (if a single mole is displaying diverse colors), and Diameter (in case of presence of melanoma, the size is bound to increase gradually). A close watch on the status of suspicious moles can help you in tracing early stages of melanoma.
Although, nowadays the scenario changed for better, most of the salons do not advocate the use of bed tanning equipment which are based on emission of UVB rays. Moreover, few guidelines have been laid to the exposure time limit to tanning beds. Use of broad spectrum sun screen and appropriate sun glasses is highly advisable while exposure to the beds. If possible, however, must completely avoid tanning through the unnatural means. Accept yourself the way you are, rather that inviting trouble.