The Truth About Tanning Beds




Ready or not, summer is coming – and so is the desire to have glowing, tan skin! There is, admittedly, a lot of confusing information out there about the safety of indoor tanning. Although magazines warn about the dangers, many tanning salons argue that fake baking isn’t so bad.


So what’s the truth? Is it safe to get a tan? What about in the sun? How good are the sunless tanning alternatives? In this article we’ll look at the truth about tanning. Plus, let us know in the comments if you plan to tan this summer, and if so, how!




What’s the argument in favor?

As most tanning salons will tell you, indoor tanning (sometimes called sunless tanning) does have some benefits. Those with tanner skin are less likely to burn outdoors, so building up a tan now may safe some pain in the future; additionally, UVA rays that aid in tanning also provide the body with vitamin D. This chemical aids in bone health, happiness, and can even lead to a long life. Plus, rumor has it that tanning can help heal acne, though the truth isn’t clear.



What’s the argument against?

Although the benefits may seem great, most experts and researchers agree that tanning is very harmful to your body. The biggest downside? Skin cancer! There is a positive relationship between reports of melanoma – the leading skin cancer in deaths – and UVA exposure. According to the Skin Cancer Association, indoor tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never used a tanning bed.


Even if you are lucky enough to miss out on the skin cancer, tanning can still cause premature wrinkles, brown spots, and lose skin. If you get sick easily, watch out – tanning can also make your immune system weaker, making you susceptible to disease! (Also interesting to note: the Vitamin D Council says that you can easily get enough of this essential chemical without tanning. Exposing the skin to sun for about half the time it would take you to turn pink each day is more than enough.)



What are the alternatives?

Indoor tanning is a choice, but know that there are alternatives. Probably the most common alternative is to lay out in the sun and get a natural tan. You’ll still be exposing your skin to UVA rays, but you’ll also get UVB rays, which will make you burn much faster. Silly as it sounds, that’s a benefit! When you start to burn you’ll be more likely to cover up or go inside. Tanning beds don’t use UVB rays, so you’re less likely to burn and more likely to stay exposed for longer.



Skip the UVA rays altogether and get a spray-on (or lotion based) tan instead! Self tanners use various chemicals, includin

g DHA, to add tan pigment to the top of the skin; they can last about two weeks, and you can do it at home or get it done professionally. This option makes sure you don’t expose yourself to UVAs, and you’ll have some control over the final color. The downside? Spray tans can be streaky or fake looking if you don’t do it right, and recent studies suggest they may potentially cause cancer, though results aren’t certain yet.


If you do choose to tan outdoors, make sure you wear proper sunscreen. (Note that higher SPF doesn’t necessarily last longer – make sure you reapply every two hours!) Want to try a fake tan at home? MuT members have left great reviews for Neutrogena Sunless Tanning Spray for being an effective, drugstore product. Just remember to exfoliate beforehand to avoid streaky skin!





None of these options sound appealing? Skip the tan completely! There’s nothing wrong with being pale, so don’t feel like you need to give in to the pressure of being perfectly tanned. Do what makes you feel happy, for the happiest people are always beautiful inside and out!



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Written by Courtney Brown

MakeupTalk Blogger