The sun is always free. Provided you live in a place that doesn’t suffer from torrential downpours or perennial winters, you will have the opportunity to at least try to tan in the outdoors, taking advantage of the sun and getting a dark tan that you can be proud of.
But the sun also goes away, and when the sun is not there (or if you work nights, or if you don’t want to be seen in a bathing suit, etc.), the other option for receiving the same type of tan is with a tanning beds. Tanning beds supply you with the rays you need to get a tan, without having to be in the sun. In fact, tanning beds are also able to give you the tan faster, as well as prepare you better for the summer.
But tanning beds are not the safest machines, and carry a number of different risks and dangers that you need to consider before you use them.
Dangers of Tanning Beds
- Skin Cancer
Perhaps the most significant risk of tanning beds is the risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer occurs when the UV rays from tanning beds negatively affects your DNA repair, which can cause cancerous cells to form. Skin cancer can be incredibly dangerous, and though fatal skin cancers are rare, they still present a common and persistent risk with anyone that uses tanning beds
- Skin Aging
The more your skin sees the sun, the more damage it receives, and this damage can cause your skin to age prematurely. It is not uncommon for those that have received significant sun exposure to have skin that has aged prematurely due to a great deal of longstanding damage that has occurred over time.
- Sun Spots/Discolorations
Sun damage can also cause a variety of more aesthetic issues, including the creation of sun spots, freckles, random discolorations and other issues. When you are tanning for the sole purpose of improving your appearance, these skin issues may defeat your goals.
You also run the risk of experiencing too many rays, ultimately leading to burns. These burns can be painful, cause your skin to peel, and increase your risk of skin cancer.
Tanning Beds Getting Better?
Recent efforts have been put into trying to reduce the damage caused by tanning beds. Overall, there have been some improvements. Tanning beds have been altered to create fewer UVB rays, which are the main source of skin cancer. This is a considerable upgrade and represents much less risk for your skin. But much less risk is not nearly the same thing as “no risk.” UVA rays have been shown to still be risky for those that experience them regularly, and science has shown that you are still at risk for skin cancer even in the tanning beds that emit no UVB rays.
But tanning beds are at least improving, and the fact that manufacturers are working towards something safer leaves hope that these will be better options in the future.