Gray days without sun, which occur frequently during the colder months of the year, dampen the mood of many people. Warming sunlight on the other hand provides for feelings of happiness and more vitality. In addition, tanned skin is still considered by many to be a sign of attractiveness, fitness and health.
No wonder, then, that many want to keep their beautiful summer tan all year round and regularly visit a solarium, especially in autumn and winter. It has long been known that artificial sunlight damages the skin and greatly increases the risk of cancer.
In this post, learn why tanning bed visits are so harmful to your health, what alternatives are available for a healthy tan, and what effect tanning beds actually have on vitamin D levels.
How does a skin tan develop??
When ultraviolet (UV) radiation penetrates the skin, whether through natural light or in a tanning salon, it stimulates the production of the pigment melanin in the skin cells, making the skin appear darker. However, this tanning is nothing more than a Protection and repair mechanism of the skin: the tanned protective layer absorbs the UV rays so that they cannot penetrate into deeper skin layers and damage them. By secreting melanin, the skin thus attempts to protect itself against penetrating UV radiation The skin is protected against UV radiation, but this is only possible to a very limited extent. If the UV rays penetrate into deeper layers of the skin, they cause lasting damage to the cells.
What are the risks of the solarium for our health??
If we are exposed to UV radiation for too long, first of all acute damage at. In this case, after a few hours, there is Redness as the first sign of sunburn. In the further course the skin swells, itches and hurts. What is worse, however, is that after a sunburn the skin recovers only superficially. If the dangerous UV rays are not absorbed by the outer layer of skin and can thus penetrate deeper into the skin, they lead there to Cell damage. While a sunburn disappears after a few days, the Sdamage to the cells in the long term exist. Only after years to decades do the actual cell damage show up Effects of sun exposure through increased Wrinkle formation, an increased occurrence of Pigment spots and a higher likelihood of Skin cancer.
If the skin is frequently exposed to dangerous UV radiation, the body's own repair system fails increasingly. The genetic material of the skin cells is changed. Damaged cells can now multiply in an uncontrolled manner. The risk of developing skin cancer increases.
For Solarium users the risk of developing black skin cancer is twice as high as for people who do not use a tanning bed. It increases by 75% for those who regularly visit a solarium from the age of under 30, because the skin of young people is particularly easily damaged by UV light. For this reason in Germany for young people under 18 years the attendance of Solarien is forbidden.
Whereas the natural UV radiation of sunlight consists of UV-A rays and UV-B rays, the artificial UV rays in solariums differently composed. Here the UV-B radiation is largely filtered out. So that particularly quickly produces the desired tan in the artificial light, the dose of the UV-A rays was increased in return. This is also the reason why the tan from the solarium appears more orange than brown. In addition, a small amount of UV-B radiation can also promote the development of skin cancer, as can UV-A radiation, as is now known.
Last but not least, artificial (as well as natural) UV light promotes a premature skin agingThe UV-A rays in particular penetrate deep into the skin, causing the formation of so-called "pigments" free radicals form. On the one hand, these damage the collagen in the connective tie and, on the other hand, prevent the renewal of the tie – leading to damage to connective tie. The skin increasingly loses elasticity, it dries out and wrinkles form.
Misconceptions about the solarium
Pre-tanning protects the skin
It is unfortunately wrong that a pre-tanning of winter-pale skin in the solarium protects the skin in the summer vacation, because for the melanin formation the UV-B radiation is responsible. Although the UV-A light used in solariums causes the skin to tan quickly, the UV-A rays are not able to stimulate the formation of a protective layer in the uppermost layers of the skin. And anyway it is true: the tanning of the skin is only a Protection mechanism and a warning, that the skin has already been exposed to the sun for too long.
Bio-solariums are healthier
So-called bio or bio light solariums advertise that thanks to specially filtered UV radiation, i.e. by using only the harmless parts of UVA-1 and visible light, they are not harmful but even healthy for the skin. Different skin diseases, as for example Neurodermitis, Psoriasis or acne, could be treated in such a way, rheumatism could be alleviated and also depressions. However, it is a fact that the long-wave UVA radiation used in the devices of bio or bio-light tanning beds can also lead to premature aging of the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. Bio solariums are thus also not healthier than conventional tanning salons.
Visits to the solarium replenish the vitamin D store
Many tanning salon operators emphasize that in the solarium the formation of vitamin D is stimulated, which especially in winter depressive moods and prevent sluggishness. However, it is the UV-B component of sunlight that is responsible for the formation of vitamin D. So exactly the part of the artificial 'sunlight' of the solariums is filtered out. Accordingly a attendance in the Solarium does not contribute at all to it the Vitamin D memory again to refill but increases instead the skin cancer risk. For those who suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D in tablet form offers the ideal alternative – without the risk of skin cancer.
For which groups of people can tanning salons be medically helpful?
In some Exceptional cases can have a light therapy provide relief for certain underlying diseases. For example, people suffering from neurodermatitis, psoriasis or acne can benefit from UV light therapy. However, this should always be prescribed exclusively by a specialist and cared for accordingly. In these cases, UV light therapy is used in exceptional cases medical exposure systems take place in a clinic and not in a solarium. Also Depression can be achieved with medically initiated light therapy, in combination with antidepressants and psychotherapy, be alleviated. Also here a specialist is to be consulted.
What are the alternatives to the solarium?
In order not to have to do without summery tan of the skin also in the winter, there are quite alternatives, which get along without the dangerous UV rays, for example self tanner or sun showers.
Self tanner Are available in the form of creams, sprays or wipes and in different color variations. Without damaging the skin through harmful UV radiation, they help to achieve a light brown complexion. In the meantime high-quality self tanners offer Natural looking and streak-free Results. Also a gentle peeling before the application can optimize natural results additionally.
Some tanning and cosmetic studios also offer so-called Sun showers at. These work on the same principle as the self-tanners from the tube. However, the Tanning substance (mostly dihydroxyacetone, DHA) sprayed directly onto the skin in sun showers with the aid of small nozzles. It only takes a minute. The tanning effect lasts for about a week. In this way the body can holistically. So that particularly natural. Also different Tanning levels can be individually adjusted here as desired. In principle, solarium visits are associated with a high health risk. Therefore not recommended for health reasons. Especially people with fair skin, blond or red hair, freckles and/or liver spots or. conspicuous pigment marks. Who was already once ill at skin cancer, for which attendance on the sun bank is anyway taboo. However, anyone who does not belong to these particularly vulnerable risk groups and does not want to forego visits to the solarium should in any case only certified studios with expert staff visit. It is also important to wear a UV eye protection goggles and to keep an interval of at least one week between visits. As a rule of thumb for the number of hours of sunbathing, do not enjoy more than a total of 50 artificial and natural sunbaths per year.