Tanning beds use ultra violet (UV) radiation to give your skin a crisp, Bahamas tan, but it comes with a price: a dramatically increased risk of skin cancer. Exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers such as Basal cell and Squamos cell carcinomas, as well as cell damage, premature wrinkling of the skin and skin rashes. Rates of skin cancer are increasing worldwide, and studies show the risks for young people are higher than for mature adults.
There are two types of ultra violet rays: UVA and UVB. Exposure to UVA rays is harmful to the body. However, exposure to UVB rays can be beneficial, as it allows the body to synthesize Vitamin D, which helps to enhance intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc. Studies have shown that Vitamin D can play an important role in cancer prevention.
Individuals with fair skin are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer and should be particularly careful about protecting their skin from UV radiation. Interestingly, people with darker skin tones have natural UV protection, but remain susceptible to skin cancer and should also take the necessary precautionary measures to avoid harmful UV exposure.
The tanning bed industry often promotes the notion that exposure to UV radiation can be healthy for humans. However, tanning beds emit extremely low levels of UVB, the type of UV light that aids in the synthesis of Vitamin D, and elevated levels of UVA. All in all, the negatives of using a tanning bed greatly outweigh any potential health benefits.