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Articles > Other Resources > Which One is Safer - Tanning Beds or Natural Sun
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There are a lot of tanning methods available to achieve that golden god look so trendy with bodybuilders and the young, hip crowd. Sun tanning, tanning beds, or the lotion are three common options people go for. Overexposure to UVA and UVB emission, the imperceptible element of sunshine that is the source of the tan, may create more hazards for your skin down the road such as permanent wrinkling, melanoma, and other problems.

The tanning season officially starts about six weeks prior to spring break. Cancun, Cabo San Lucas and Florida are key spring break destinations, and the sun plays a major part in holiday activities. Many students turn to tanning beds to get that dark, bronzed look and to turn up at the beach with a base tan. Tanning salons advise that their customers begin the tanning procedure gradually, so they don't burn.

Tanning Salon Supporters Say It Is Safer Than Natural Rays
When you get a tan the body knows that it is being damaged so it creates melanin, a brown pigment in the skin, to defend itself. You have to damage your skin before you can get a tan, and that is the first way tanning salons, and tanning in general, is unsafe. Secondly, tanning salons and the sun have one thing in common: they both give off ultraviolet radiation.

In November, 2004 a team from NBC went undercover to find out what people are being told when they go to tanning salons. The team visited 12 tanning salons and all but three told the producer that tanning beds are absolutely harmless, even if she had had a skin cancer scare. NBC showed the tapes to the head of Cosmetic Dermatology at Penn Medicine at Radnor, Dr. Cherie Ditre.

"Oh God, I can't believe she's recommending for a patient that's had skin cancer to do a tanning bed," was Dr. Ditre's reaction.

The National Cancer Institute published a study in February 2002 involving 900 people with skin cancer and 550 without. Those who reported any use of tanning beds were up to 2.5 times more likely to have had skin cancer. But at least tanning beds are better than being in the sun all day, right? After all, they emit less UVB radiation, which is widely thought to be more harmful than UVA, since UVB is what causes the skin to burn. However, the Federal Trade Commission reports that UVA penetrates more deeply than UVB, affecting more layers of skin.

Tanning beds and sun lamps generally emit 93% to 99% UVA radiation – three times the UVA radiation given off by the sun. The majority of tanning bed makers concur that indoor tanning is a great deal safer than getting outdoor exposure to sun. Tanning salons state that some UV radiation is required for the manufacturing of Vitamin D. In addition, the tanning bed industry claims that UVA radiation has no harmful effects on the skin. Scientists argue that while UVA rays are less likely to cause burns, they are still associated with malignant melanoma, damage to the immune system, weakening of the skin's inner tissue, and other types of skin cancers.

In addition, if you're not cautious when deciding on a tanning salon, the service you get might burn you in more ways than one. A study by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed that in several tanning facilities in San Diego County, Calif., it was unproblematic for minors to use tanning beds without parental permission, easy to get fake or wrong information, and comparatively easy to tan longer and more frequently than is recommended – thus obviously breaking state and federal safety policies.

Murky science and controversial assertions are nothing new for the indoor tanning industry. The industry is not just saying that tanning beds are not dangerous; they're saying that they are actually good for you. Even more worrying is the industry's position on cancer, which it says can be caused by sun deprivation and prevented by tanning lamps.

A few days' worth of golden skin is not worth a lifetime of side effects, such as early aging and perhaps even death, which could result from indoor tanning. A recent American Cancer Society study shows people under 35 who have been frequently exposed to tanning beds are now eight times more likely to develop skin cancer than those who have never set foot in a tanning salon.

Airbrush Tanning: The Newest Craze For Spring And Summer
You can get a tan in less time than it takes to get a manicure thanks to airbrush tanning, and the beauty about it is that it is safer than contact with the sun or conventional tanning beds. Moon Tans, a Colorado corporation, is the company responsible for the sunless tanning boom in several states. This radical tan is transported through an airbrush by a qualified technician. The ingredients in the airbrush tanning solution are essentially the same as those found in over-the-counter self-tanning lotions, the active ingredient being DHA, a natural derivative of sugar, which creates a chemical reaction with the amino acids in the skin, causing your pigment to darken.

The skin acquires an attractive bronze color on its own, and as the dead skin cells naturally wear off, the color slowly fades, just like a normal suntan. The airbrush tanning method also permits all-over tanning with no visible strap lines and no streaking effect that is sometimes caused by chemical tanning agents. There is no danger of skin cancer or the premature aging linked to tanning with UV light, since airbrush tanning does not cause harm to the underlying living layers of the skin.

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