Pros and Cons of Tanning Beds

For many, tanning beds are a convenient way of getting a cosmetic tan. This article discusses the pros and cons regarding the same.
BeautiSecrets Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
A tanning bed is a device that is very popular among people who want to get that enviable bronze tan that would make heads turn as they walk by. Tanning of the skin is achieved by ultraviolet rays that are emitted by the fluorescent lights with phosphor blends that are used in these beds. The ultraviolet rays emitted by these lamps are almost the same as those in sun's rays. These contraptions are faster and more convenient than getting tanned while sitting under the sun. However, the effect of these devices on health have raised concerns among many health care professionals. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of using this bed, which need to be considered before one goes for that stunning sun-kissed complexion.

Pros

Convenient and Saves Time
It is quick and convenient. Just a short visit to the local tanning salon is all that is required to have a beautiful tan. It works faster than the sunrays to give you that tanned look. Hence, one does not have to set a considerable amount of time aside for it. Moreover, it can also be used in the evening which is quite unlike with a suntan.

Melanin Production
Exposure to ultraviolet rays triggers the production of the pigment 'melanin', which gives the tan we desire so much. This pigment protects the skin from being burnt due to over-exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Vitamin D Production
When exposed to either natural or artificial sunlight, our skin produces Vitamin D. Some beds emit UV-B rays that boost the production of vitamin D, and thus have medical benefits. Vitamin D is essential to keep our teeth, bones, and joints strong, and also prevents uncontrolled growth of cells through the process of 'apoptosis'.

Less Probability of Getting Skin Burns
The beds filter out the UVB rays that cause skin burns. Hence getting a tan from tanning beds is less harmful to the skin, as far as skin burns are concerned, than exposure to sunlight. Hence they are considered by many as a safer alternative to sunrays.

Gives a Healthy Feeling
Studies have shown that the tanning sessions with these beds can significantly improve one's mood. An individual feels more confident and happy at the bronzed look that he/she wears after a short session. It is also known to increase an individual's self-confidence and morale.

Cons

Harmful for Eyes
The beds are known to have harmful effects on one's vision. These contraptions are believed to damage the retina and cornea. The UV levels are higher in these beds compared to that in sunlight, therefore using them may lead to cataract.

Skin Problems
They can cause premature wrinkling of the skin and skin rashes. Some of the side effects are dry, rough skin and hives. The beds that aren't cleaned properly can cause fungal rash as well.

Skin Cancer
A strong correlation has been found between tanning beds and skin cancer. Although UV rays are known to reduce the risk of getting carcinoma of the lymph nodes, they are also the major cause of skin cancer.

Response to Medicines
Certain medicines may increase sensitivity of the skin to light. This may result in complications that are termed as photosensitive disorders.

Relation With Pregnancy

There is also some concern about tanning beds and pregnancy. Although most medical professionals are of the opinion that these beds do not pose any threat to the fetus, many obstetricians and mid-wives believe that pregnant women should stay away from them. The major worry is hyperthermia, which may set in, once the body temperatures reach 102 °F. Although the temperatures in the tanning salons are maintained below this threshold level, be very sure of using these beds during pregnancy.

Despite the risks, there is no denying the benefits and convenience of using these contraptions. Like most other procedures, the pros and cons of these contraptions are abound. However, the key lies in having proper information and correctly following the guidelines for using these beds.

Disclaimer: This BeautiSecrets article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.