How Safe Are Sunbeds?

Written by kim kirsch
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How Safe Are Sunbeds?
(Dreamstime)

Some people consider tanning in a sunbed a timesaver and a great way to give your skin a healthy glow. Many heath care professionals, however, have issued dire warnings recently about the dangers of tanning beds, specifically their role in increasing your odds of getting skin cancer. The evidence suggests the dangers of sunbeds may far outweigh any benefits.

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Function

Millions of people every year visit tanning salons to get a look that makes them feel comfortable wearing summer clothing or swimming costumes. Most physicians and dermatologists, though, maintain that a tan is nothing more than damaged skin.

Benefits

Sunlight is a source of Vitamin D, can help reduce cholesterol, aids in fighting breast and prostate cancer and boosts the mood of many. Doctors and therapists often prescribe ultraviolet light to those suffering from depression. Lack of sunlight can lead to a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Considerations

Tanning may make you look younger in the short term, but people who spend a lot of time in the sun get wrinkles sooner. Tanning beds, though, are being blamed for an increase in deadly skin cancer. In an analysis of 20 studies released in 2009, scientists concluded that the risk of skin cancer jumps by 75 per cent in people who start using tanning beds before age 30.

Age

Teenagers who use sunbeds are more likely to develop skin cancer as they age. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the use of tanning beds by young people is comparable to heavy smoking or asbestos exposure. Most tanning salons won't allow a teenager to tan without a parent's consent. It is imperative parents arm themselves with recent knowledge.

Moderation

There is a differences in opinion among independent studies and the FDA as to whether sunbed use in moderation is good for your body. The FDA recommends no exposure at all; some other studies have shown otherwise. Using a sunbed only two times a year, with minimal exposure, may or may not provide some benefits.

Warning

You may love a great tan, but a bad sunburn is never good for your skin or your health. If you become sunburned, see your physician to determine just how much damage has been done. In a Fox News report, experts warned that using tanning beds is as bad as arsenic or mustard gas. The contradictory findings of some other studies demonstrate that common sense should be used at all times.

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