Long-Term Effects of Tanning Beds

by | Sep 19, 2022 | Issue 156, Issues | 0 comments

Sometimes, achieving that most wanted look requires a visit to the tanning salon. And although the majority of people know the dangers of tanning, either indoors or outdoors, they...

Sometimes, achieving that most wanted look requires a visit to the tanning salon. And although the majority of people know the dangers of tanning, either indoors or outdoors, they still keep doing it. Therefore, people need to inform themselves and understand the dangers and long-term effects of tanning in tanning beds. 

Tanning Beds Health Risks

No type of tanning is safe or healthy. By getting tanned, your skin becomes damaged, which is when the risks associated with skin damage start to appear or increase. 

The fact that tanning beds pose a substantial risk for your skin health has been known and public for a long time. It doesn’t matter the type of skin you have, your age or the intensity of the tan. Your skin still becomes damaged, and you are only putting yourself at significant risk. 

#1: Are Tanning Beds Bad for Tattoos?

If you just got a tattoo or have one that is not fully healed, you have to stay away from tanning beds. Tanning a fresh tattoo can cause more damage and lengthen the tattoo’s healing process. Also, it can cause the color of the tattoo to fade away. 

Cover the tattoo with a piece of material if you really can’t stay away from the tanning bed. You can also apply sunscreen over the tattoo for better coverage and protection. 

#2: Will Tanning Beds Lighten Your Hair?

Indeed, a tanning bed will lighten your hair color. This happens because the lamps used to tan your skin emit artificial UV radiation. As this radiation darkens your skin color, it also lightens your hair. 

The effects differ from one skin and hair type to another. While skin is made out of living tissue cells, hair is made out of dead tissue. As a result, UV radiation breaks the pigment in the hair, thus lightening its color. 

#3: Why are Tanning Beds Worse Than Outdoor Tanning?

Tanning beds are considered more harmful than outdoor tanning. People tend to pick tanning beds over outdoor tanning because the time invested in the tanning process is much shorter, although the risks are more significant. No tanning type is healthy, although outdoor tanning brings fewer risks than tanning beds. Tanning beds produce 100 times more UV radiation levels than outdoor tanning. The risks of tanning grow exponentially after a day on the beach, so the levels skyrocket when talking about tanning beds. 

#4: Premature Aging

Since tanning damages skin cells, premature aging becomes more pronounced, especially over the face area. There are two primary UV rays used in tanning beds: 

  • UVA has a longer wavelength and is associated with skin aging.
  • With its shorter wavelength, UVB is associated with skin burning and tanning.

The difference between the two is that UVB rays cause faster tanning while UVA needs more prolonged exposure to very high levels so that the results can show. Certain tanning beds use mainly UVA rays, which, unfortunately, infiltrate more profoundly into the skin and cause devastating effects on the skin cells, such as melanoma and other types of skin cancer. Also, because UV exposure causes your skin to dry up, you will become more susceptible to acne breakouts.

#5: Do Tanning Beds Cause Cancer?

Tanning beds increase the risks of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. 

You don’t need to be exposed to tanning beds for a long while for these risks to become hazardous. The damage appears even after the first tanning session. And with each session, the damage accumulates, so the damaged cells grow out of control. You may also be putting yourself at risk of developing ocular melanoma, cataracts and other diseases that may leave you blind. 

If you find that your family has a history of skin cancer, the risks may be higher for you. Many cases of melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, are linked to regular tanning, especially in tanning beds. 

Myths about Tanning Beds

There are numerous myths regarding tanning beds. One of the most popular is that tanning beds will whiten your teeth, which is entirely false. You may get this impression because your teeth appear whiter as your skin becomes darker. Yet, this is only an illusion. 

Another popular myth is that indoor tanning is safer than outdoor tanning. But the reality is quite the opposite. Tanning beds use much higher UV lights that penetrate your skin and add to the damage with every use. As a result, tanning beds are more dangerous than sun tanning. 

These myths have appeared only to give bed tanning a better reputation and an excuse to use. But never underestimate the scientist’s words and research. Any type of tanning is dangerous, mainly indoor tanning. 

You can always pick a healthier alternative, such as spray tanning. Spray tanning does not expose you to dangerous rays such as UV and will instantly give you a look and glow of your choice! 

A Parting Reminder

Tanning beds are hazardous to your health, so don’t let anyone change your belief. Premature aging and various skin diseases are a very high price to pay for such a small thing. Remember, a natural tan is always the healthiest choice if you want your skin to be one with the summer!

Mălina O. R.

Mălina O. R.