Everyone loves having a beautifully tanned body and most people also know that there are risks associated to getting too much exposure to the sun while seeking that tan. This has led many to seek alternative ways to get their skin a little darker. People use everything from spray on tans which basically dye the skin to tanning beds which omits the bad UV-C rays that the sun provides while still giving you the UV-B and UV-A rays that allow tanning to occur. Both allow you to have a darker skin tone while lowering the risk of overexposure to the sun. The downside to it is that tanning beds have became the most popular alternative and there are risks with it that not many people know about. So before you jump into the tanning bed nearest you, perhaps you should gain more understanding of the tanning bed dangers and do yourself a favor.
Why Are Tanning Beds Bad?
Recent studies are revealing that the world’s most popular way to tan and avoid the sun is perhaps way more dangerous than people at first believed. For years people have began to embrace the idea that because the UV-C rays that the sun produces, which is also the most dangerous, is not present in tanning beds or booths so therefore it must be safer. However, now research is starting to show that omitting that UV ray may not be enough to protect you from developing skin cancer.This is quite a problem considering that each year nearly thirty million people make use of a tanning bed and most of them are between the ages of 16 and 50 years old.
About 2.3 million of the tanning bed users are teens who want to look great. This number has been steadily increasing since the early 90s when tanning beds first started to gain popularity and research is pointing toward the fact that if you use a tanning bed before the age of 35 your chances of developing melanoma increases by 75% and using it more than ten times in a year you are seven times more likely to develop it. This means that a lot of the teens in our life are jeopardizing their life to get beautiful skin.The problem is that when you are exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays you are actually getting three different wavelengths of it. The UV-A rays penetrate deeply into the skin to cause tanning. UV-B rays are more apt to damage superficial skin layers and this is where you will notice your sunburn pain if you get too much exposure. Tanning beds are designed to provide you with more of the UV-A rays than UV-B and therefore are considered healthier by many.
The FDA and scientists beg to differ and state that any tan that you get by using UV rays still will have the same damaging effects as a sunburn and they can back it up with numbers that indicate it may actually be worse to tan in a salon than it is to tan on the beach because when you are in a salon you get a lot more harmful UV rays at one time. In years past the tanning beds that people used gave off about three times more of the UV-A rays that the sun produces. Now, there are new and improved sunlamps available to give you a faster tan which also come with both UV-A and UV-B at as much as 15 times more than that of the sun. This not only includes the increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma and basal cell carcinoma but could lead to a loss of skin elasticity and early aging. It can also damage your immune system and contrary to popular belief, tanning beds do cause sunburns. A single sunburn alone can be enough to increase your risk of developing skin cancer by half.
Understanding What It Means for You
When it comes to tanning bed dangers sometimes the numbers and statistics are not enough to convince people not to do it. Therefore, everyone, especially the teens who spend hours at a tanning salon per year need to understand exactly what they are risking when they decide that having a tan is important. These teens really need to consider whether a beautifully bronzed body is worth risking their life to obtain.The fact is, there are three different types of skin cancer that has been linked to tanning bed usage. The more you use a tanning bed the more likely you will become another statistic who has developed skin cancer. The three types of skin cancer are:
- Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer with more than two million new cases of it each year. It is most commonly found on the face, neck or other areas of the body where you get the most sun exposure. It is common for anyone to get this type of skin cancer whether they have been in a tanning bed or not but the tanning salons do increase your risk of developing it at an earlier age. Often people realize that there is a problem when they notice certain signs. This includes either a dome shaped growth on your skin that has visible blood vessels and it is often lightly colored but not always, a scaly patch of skin that is shiny and pink to reddish in color, or a growth that may look like scar tissue. If there is a sore present it may bleed easily, heal but return, appear to look like a crater or even become oozy or crusty looking. It may also itch and be painful though this is rare. Treatment for this type of skin cancer is very important because even though it grows slowly there is a risk that it will grow wide and deep destroying all skin and bone within its path. If you feel that you have it you should schedule an appointment with a dermatologist who will do a biopsy. If the results are positive and you have BCC the treatment options may include cutting the tumor out, scraping it away and then using electricity to destroy the remaining tumor, or surgery if the tumor is very large or cannot be removed with other methods.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma is slightly less common than BCC but still needs to be treated. It often looks red and scaly though it can also appear as an open sore, growth that has a cratered center, or look like a wart. It may bleed, especially if you bump it. It can disfigure the area of your body that it is growing on and if it is not treated it can lead to death. Each year approximately 700,000 cases are diagnosed and 2,500 will result in death because it wasn’t caught fast enough. It can appear anywhere on the body, even the genitals but it is most commonly found in areas that get the most sun exposure. If caught early and treated it is almost always curable. The damage it may leave behind is also usually not severe. The longer you delay on treatment though the more likely it will spread to other tissues or organs. This can turn it from a simple problem to a terminal disease. There are several different treatments available but they will depend on the type, location, depth and size of your tumor. It will also be dependent upon the your age and health. Treatment options include, surgery, electricity, freezing it, radiation, photodynamic therapy, laser surgery, and even topical medications if the tumor is not overly large.
- Melanoma Cancer is rare because it affects less than 2% of skin cancer types. However, according to estimates regarding melanoma rates for 2014 there are predictions that 76,100 new cases will be found and 9,710 of those cases will be terminal. The statistics do show that most of the cases will likely be men who spend more time working outside in the sun. Melanoma often begins if you have a certain type of mole. Melanoma tumors are often black or brown in color but they can also be pink, white or tan. Most often they show up on the back or chest of men and on the legs for women. However, this is not all-inclusive and they can show up anywhere on anyone. If you have a darker skin tone you are less likely to develop it but it can still show up in lighter areas such as the palms, soles of feet, and under nails. It may also appear around your eyes, mouth, genitals and anus but this is not common at all. Melanoma can be curable if you catch it early but if you do not get treatment it is more likely to spread to other areas quickly. Treatment options for you will be based on the melanoma cancers stage and other things but they include surgery, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, radiation, and chemotherapy. If caught in the very early stages surgery may be enough but in many cases there will be more than one treatment used. You will have the option to talk to several specialists about your treatment options and get a second opinion.
Is There Any Hope for a Beautifully Bronzed Body?
Unless you want to live in pale splendor you can either take a risk with your life or explore your other options that are totally safe ways to tan. These other ways include sunless tanning solutions which you can purchase in cream or spray form. You may also choose to have it done at a salon by someone who basically air brushes your skin with color. The downside is that sunless tanning is only a temporary solution to being darker than you are naturally.Most of the time, a sunless tan will last only a few days unless you reapply it. However, if the sunless tan that you apply has a sunscreen in it, you can expect it to last even less time, sometimes as little as a few hours.A sunless tan is simply a color additive that when applied it “stains” your dead skin cells and darkens the skin.
This additive is called dihydroxyacetone and it will not protect you from the sun’s UV rays. It is not to be used as a sunscreen because you will still get sun burnt if you are in the sun for too long without applying sunscreen.If you have a sunless tan applied at a salon you may be provided with nose plugs or facial masks to ensure that you do not inhale the dihydroxyacetone.To use a self tanner yourself it is recommended that you exfoliate your skin and use soap that does not have a lot of oil in it because this will prevent the self tanning solution from tanning you properly. You should also apply it while wearing gloves because your hands will stain much faster than the areas you are trying to tan and no one wants to have orange palms. Start at your feet and work your way up saving your hands for last. However, keep in mind that tanning your feet should be done lightly because they will also darken quickly. If you want to keep the tan longer you should apply a moisturizer daily so that the colored dead skin cells do not flake off as quickly as they normally would.
You can also use natural sunlight as an alternative to tanning beds; however it should be done in moderation. You should use sunscreen often, at least every two hours, after swimming and sweating. The sunscreen that you use should also be at least 15 SPF to protect you from the more dangerous UV rays that the sun emits though you can use a stronger sun block and still you will get the benefits of vitamin D which we get from the sun. Some believe it is beneficial and effective in helping with some types of cancers and heart or kidney disease.When you are considering safe alternatives there is a product that you take orally that is considered a sunless tanning pill. However, it is not safe at all to use according to most research and it should be avoided because it can cause health risks to your body and even liver problems over time.
You only have one body and one life. Take care of it and avoid taking risks that could make you old well before your time. Tan is beautiful and no one can dispute that but you do need to tan wisely and choose a method that works well for you to make you feel beautiful. No tanned body is worth risking your life for and a tan from a tanning bed is not going to help you look your best in the long run if you consider all the risks. Love your body enough to protect it from UV rays at all cost. Your body will thank you for it when you avoid skin cancer by playing it safe and sticking to self tanners or safe sun exposure instead of playing around with the tanning bed dangers that could disfigure you or end your life.