Friday, January 13, 2012

Features of Sun Rays & Tanning Bed

Sun rays and tanning bed lights both expose the skin to ultraviolet radiation. The ultraviolet radiation penetrates the skin and triggers the production of a chemical called melanin. Melanocytes are the name of the cells that produce melanin. Melanin is produced to protect the skin from sun damage and is what gives the skin its brown color. Indoor and outdoor tanning can both pose dangers to human health.
When you tan through the use of sun rays, you are exposing your skin to a combination of UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays only penetrate the top layers of the skin and are responsible for sunburns. UVA rays penetrate deeper in the epidermis and stimulate the melanin to produce a tan. Most tanning beds only expose the individual to UVA rays. Since you are only exposed to UVA rays, you are least likely to develop a sunburn during use.
Tanning beds do allow for more control over the amount and intensity of UV exposure. Tanning beds allow you to choose the temperature level and the amount of time you are in the bed. Sun rays cannot be controlled and the intensity can vary due to the season and time of day. Typically, the four-hour period from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. is when the sun is at its strongest and most damaging. The closer you are to the equator will also affect the intensity level of the sun's rays. Clouds can reduce the intensity of sun rays while ground reflection can increase the strength of UV rays.
Sanitary concerns are a common issue when using a tanning bed instead of the sun. While out in the sun, you are not likely to be exposed to the germs in a communal tanning bed. When you do choose to use a tanning bed, it should be cleaned and sanitized after every use.
Any type of UV exposure should be avoided since it puts you at risk of skin cancer, age spots, wrinkles and other signs of premature aging. You should wear a sunblock with an SPF 15 or higher when out in the sun. Due to the concentrated UV rays found in a tanning bed, consider a sunblock with SPF 30 or higher. As a tanning alternative, you can choose sunless tanning sprays and lotions.
In an article printed on the MayoClinic website, Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D., states that tanning beds can actually emit a higher amount of UVA radiation. UVA rays are associated with a higher risk of developing melanoma. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

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