Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Are Sunbeds Healthy ?

by Adrian Fletcher

The idea of a sun tan representing health or affluence is a recent trend. Before the 1950’s, people were very conscious of keeping their skin out of the sun. Indeed, someone that was heavily tanned may be thought of as some that worked outdoors in a poorly paid job and exposed to too much sun.
As prosperity became more tangible to people in the middle of the last century, having a lifestyle became more of a reality. The idea of leisure time was invented. People would dedicate time to going to the beach and spending time outdoors for relaxation. They had money to spend on vacations, often traveling to sunnier climates.
It was not long before having an all over tan was a sign of an affluent lifestyle. It represented the living of a healthy and vital life and was highly desirable. Pretty soon, getting a suntan became an activity in itself. People would spend many hours in the Sun ‘working on their tan’.
People wanted a permanent all over tan, regardless of the seasons. Other people wanted to get a tan before they went to a sunny climate for their annual vacation. Pretty soon the idea of the sunbed evolved.
Ever since the development of the sunbed they have proved to be very popular. Tanning salons pop up at every mall or shopping center. Many gyms have a tanning salon too which reinforces the link between a tan and a healthy lifestyle.
But the question that most people that use sunbeds have and then choose to forget is are sunbeds healthy ?
The answer is very simple. Current research suggests that any kind of tanning, be it in the Sun or being exposed to ultra violet radiation in some other way will eventually lead to skin cancer. The level or duration of exposure to UV rays before a skin cancer develops will vary from person to person depending on their skin type and other genetic factors.
Many tanning salon owners will make the distinction that the radiation that you are exposed to in the sun is different to that of a sunbed. UVB radiation causes the skin to burn and is the kind of radiation you will be exposed to in the Sun. Whereas, UVA radiation is the kind of radiation that you will be exposed to on a sunbed. It does not cause your skin to burn but it is believed to still be just as likely to cause skin cancer.
The salient point to all this is that any form of tanning of the skin will lead to skin cancer at some point. Maybe you will be fortunate and never reach that point during your life but the aim of skin cancer prevention is to limit a persons exposure to the cause of skin cancer, ultra violet radiation. That is why people should always wear sunscreen when outdoors. They should try to cover their skin with clothing and wear a hat and sunglasses when out in the Sun.
Lying on a sunbed once a week is like going in the sun with none of this protection. Under the circumstances, it seems like a potentially high price to pay to have a ‘healthy’ tan.
About the Author:
For more on the symptoms of skin cancer and details on the types of skin cancers that can develop, visit http://symptomsofskincancer.net

No comments: