Hazards of Using a Tanning Booth

Tanning has hidden dangers.

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The quest for beautiful, glowing skin can take many paths. You could go to a tanning salon and get your tan the modern way -- sport some goggles, have some privacy and wear as little as you want. For those that want a year-round tan, the tanning bed is a good option, but there are some concerns to keep in mind. Tanning beds can contribute to melanoma, eye damage, and can even damage your DNA.

From St. Tropez To Bed

Having a sun kissed complexion was not always popular. For centuries, women wanted to be pale, which was was a sign of class -- the paler you were, the higher your status. Women would use cake makeup to make themselves look as pale as possible. Then came that rebellious fashion icon, Coco Chanel. She went to the South of France and came back with a tan. All of a sudden women wanted to have her healthy glow and tanning became popular. Since the days of Chanel, a tan has become a symbol of a healthy complexion. In the late 1970s, the tanning bed was born.

There Is A Cancer Among Us

Tanning beds create artificial UV rays that mimic the rays of the sun. The UV radiation penetrates the skin and causes it to tan. According to the American Association of Dermatologists, there are two types of UV rays; UVA and UVB. UVB rays are the ultraviolet rays that are used in tanning beds and are the rays that can burn your skin. UVB rays are the primary cause of skin cancer.

It Hurts Your DNA

The darkening of your skin is actually a defense reaction. Your skin is rushing to repair the DNA damaged by the rays. Some scientists believe that tanning damages your DNA. When your cells are hit by these rays, it mutates the DNA of the cells. The result is that the damaging rays are able to mutate cells faster and spread melanoma (skin cancer) at a more accelerated rate.

Your Medicine May Be Photosensitive

The UV rays in tanning booths are no different from the sun's rays when it comes to medications. If your pharmacist has instructed you to avoid the sun with certain medications, then that means you should avoid the tanning booth as well. UV rays can interact with certain oral or topical medications in a bad way. The UV radiation can cause a more severe sunburn or a rash. Here are some of the medications that can cause a reaction when exposed to UV rays: birth control pills, estrogen, certain antibiotics, antihistamines, diabetes medications, antifungal medications and diuretics.

The Eyes Don't Want To Have It

Geteyesmart.org (American Academy of Ophthalmology) claims that indoor tanning can increase the risk of eye disease. Because tanning beds deliver UV rays at a rate 100 times greater than the sun, the risk of retinal damage is greater. Indoor tanning has been associated with cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Symptoms are not immediate. The exposure can also cause cancer of the uvea. The uvea is the layer just below the white of your eye.

You Don't Need Rays To Glow

If you are looking for sun-kissed skin but you don't want to risk cancer or premature wrinkles, try sunless tanning. The Mayo Clinic says that this is the healthiest way to get a tan. There are a few ways that you can tan without the sun. You can get self tanners in the form of a gel or a cream. You can also visit your local salon and get a spray-on tan.

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