#36alive 209: Don’t Use Sunbeds

With more pressure and focus than ever on appearance, many people use sun beds to build a tan to get that golden brown look that people think is aesthetically pleasing, and while this may sometimes be true in the short term, in the long term they can subject the body to advanced ageing,  giving that lovely wrinkly leathery look.

Many sunbeds give out a higher dose of UV rays than the sun which can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. Evidence has shown that people who used sunbeds before the age of 25 are at a greater risk later in life.

One common reason for sun bed use is to “build a base tan”, however science permits that this is codswallop for the want of a better term. A base tan will only give as little as a factor 3 protection which is well below the recommended protection of 15. Even if 15 sounds a bit too high for those olive skinned of you out there, I’m sure you’ll agree that 3 is a bit low. In fact, the Chief of Dermatological Study at Harvard has said that it can sometimes have the opposite effect as it gives people a false sense of security resulting in a longer time spent in the sun.

Another reason why people might argue the case for sunbeds is to get some vitamin D, this would be a good reason as vitamin D is extremely important however sunbeds are not going to help with this. Sun beds mainly use UVA light rather than UVB, and vitamin D comes from UVB.

Eye problems could occur especially if googles are not used, with problems such as conjunctivitis and cataracts a possibility.

So please think twice before heading to your nearest ‘Hollywood Tan’ or ‘Tanfastic’, is it really worth it, and what exactly do you gain from it.

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