How to use sunbeds before the holidays

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If you are preparing for vacation and packing a swimsuit, you could be considering a few visits to the sunbed before your trip. Although a sunbed offers the convenience of tanning, rain or shine, no matter the temperature outside, there are extreme risks to consider. According to WebMD, studies indicate, "regular use of tanning beds triples or even quadruples the risk of developing melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer." However, if you are intent on using a sunbed before the holidays, follow precautions.

Tan gradually. Do not start your first sunbed visit at the maximum time allowed. Start slowly with no more than a 5 minute session and increase your time with each visit to prevent a sunburn. Pay attention to how your skin reacts. If you have fair skin, be extremely careful as you increase your tanning time. It may take longer to achieve a tan, but you will avoid a burn. Never tan for more than 20 minutes.

Protect your eyes. Always wear tanning goggles that fit properly while tanning in a sunbed. Do not take the goggles off during your tanning session. If you wear contact lenses, remove them before entering the sunbed. Tanning salons typically provide goggles, but you can purchase your own. Be sure to buy goggles specifically designed for tanning. Medical experts say failing to wear tanning goggles can lead to long term damage to your eyes. Cotton balls and eye patches will not provide protection.

Use lotions. Protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet rays by applying a tanning bed lotion with UV protection before you enter the sunbed. Choose a product with an SPF of at least 30. Avoid tanning products with accelerators. These products contain natural proteins that increase melanin production, resulting in a faster tan. However, accelerators have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and have reportedly led to dangerous side effects in some consumers.

Eat your vegetables. According to, foods rich in beta-carotene help your skin maintain a tan. After a sunbed session, load up on carrots, tomatoes, broccoli and lettuce. Add some citrus fruit to your diet to retain that tan between sunbed visits.

Increase your water intake. During tanning days, be sure to drink plenty of water to the tune of 10-12 glasses per day. This will prevent your skin from drying and wrinkling during the tanning process, and provide a healthy glow.

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