Some info on tanning.
Is tanning in a salon safe?
Yes! Tanning in a salon is safe, especially compared to being out in actual sunlight for prolonged periods of time. Since tanning beds filter out the UVC light, you’ll get the healthiest forms of UV light.
How does tanning work?
Sunbeds use UV or Ultraviolet light to tan your body. Since there are three types of UV light – UVA, UVB, and UVC – sunbeds are designed to use more levels of UVA with lower levels of UVB on your skin to promote the production of melanin, the pigment that makes you look tan even if you don’t spend time under actual sunlight. The most harmful form of UV light is the UVC which tanning beds filter out so that you only get the best forms of UV light.
How does indoor tanning exposure compare to the natural sun?
Your skin produces a tan the same way it does when you tan indoors or outdoors. It is difficult to make a simple comparison of the sun with that of modern indoor tanning equipment. The sun’s strength is dependent on several factors as well. When you are outdoors in the sun you cannot control the amount of ultraviolet light you are exposed to. Indoor tanning is a very controlled environment in which you can regulate the amount of ultraviolet light you are exposed to. You can gradually increase your exposure time to achieve the tan you desire without burning.
Why Should We Be Concerned About Vitamin D Deficiency?
New research in America has shown that vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic in adults today, suggesting that up to 90% of people are vitamin D deficient. This epidemic is most likely caused by over-usage of sunscreen in climates and during seasons when sunburn is not a possibility. This is especially significant because:
A 2006 systematic review of 63 studies on vitamin D status in relation to cancer risk has shown that vitamin D sufficiency can reduce one’s risk of colon, breast and ovarian cancers by up to 50%. The landmark paper, published in the February 2006 issue of The American Journal of Public Health, is the most comprehensive paper on vitamin D written to date.
Additionally, vitamin D deficiency is a leading cause of osteoporosis, a disease affecting 25 million Americans which leads to 1 million hip and bone fractures every year. In elderly individuals, such fractures are often deadly. Encouraging everyone to wear sunscreen all year long in any climate is undoubtedly contributing to this problem, as vitamin D is necessary for the body to properly process calcium.
For years, environmental correlations have established that people in sunny climates have lower risks of many forms of cancer. In recent years, the mechanism by which Vitamin D slows or retards the growth of tumor cells has been researched and identified. It was once thought that only the kidneys could produce active vitamin D, but we now know that many cells in the body perform this function, including cells in the breast, prostate, colon, brain and skin. Research has shown that the active form of vitamin D, when present in cells throughout the body, inhibits the growth and spread of abnormal cells, including cancer cells.
What Does Indoor Tanning Have To Do With Vitamin D?
Exposure to UVB rays from sunshine is the body’s natural way to produce vitamin D, accounting for 90% of the body’s vitamin D production. Dietary “supplements” are just that, supplemental ways to produce vitamin D.
Research has shown that people who utilize indoor tanning equipment that emit UVB rays, which most tanning equipment does, also produce vitamin D. Studies have also shown that indoor tanning clients have higher vitamin D blood levels than non-indoor tanners.
While the North American indoor tanning industry promotes itself as a cosmetic service, one undeniable, yet favourable, side-effect of that cosmetic service is vitamin D production. Even though it is not necessary to develop a tan to produce vitamin D, this should be considered: because research suggests that the risks associated with sun exposure are related to intermittent sunburns, it is credible to believe that the benefits of regular, moderate, non-burning exposure outweigh the risks associated with overexposure.