Sunbeds – Positives and Negatives Part 1

The ancient Greeks and Romans first discovered the healthy benefits of sunbathing and termed it “heliotherapy” (sun therapy), even going so far as to design a Solarium as part of their homes. But it was Coco Channel  , in the 1920’s who first made getting a tan fashionable. The rich and famous people of the time, the so-called “jet set”, flocked to join her in the South of France to drink cocktails and bask in the Sun. Since that time a tan has become associated with looking confident, sexy and attractive.
The world’s first UV lamp was made by a German company called Heraeus in 1906. Medical treatment using such lamps of calcium deficiency and bone disorders was very popular until the 1930’s, with tanning as an added welcomed side effect. But it was another German, Friedrich Wolf, who first decided to use UV lamps for non medical benefits in the 1960’s: I.E. commercial tanning. He asked Phillips to make him the world’s first tubular UV lamp, from which the original wooden sun benches were made. Later, canopies were added and recognizable sunbeds appeared in the late 1970’s. Vertical sunbeds were invented in the late 1980’s, and the new generation of advanced technology sunbeds, almost as big, stylish and complex as a car, appeared in the late 1990’s.At first, sunbed tanning consisted of lying on a flat acrylic sheet for 30 minutes or more.
But in these days everything is completely different so let me give you some info that I found for you. Maybe most of you already know this things but there is always something new that you can learn. So let’s start with some important questions that maybe everyone wants to know

1.  How many times a week can I sensibly use a sunbed.

People with skin type 1: children under 18 and people on certain medications that may cause photosensitivity, people with a history of skin cancer in their family should not use a sunbed at all. Moderate tanning of 2-3 sessions a week is OK for everyone else but ensure you rest the skin for a minimum of 24 hours between each session and at least 48 hours for skin type 2. The European Standard advises not to exceed 60 sessions per annum.
2.  What is a sunbed session?
A sunbed session is the length of time it takes to reach an individual’s MED (minimal erythemal dose). This is the point prior to over-exposure and burning, which must always be avoided. A session will therefore depend on the type of sunbed being used, the skin type of the person using it and the development point of their tan. Never sunbathe outdoors on the same day you take a sunbed session.
3. Why will some sunbed salons let me use their sunbeds for longer sessions?
This depends entirely upon the type of sunbed being offered. The power and UV output can vary considerably from sunbed to sunbed. A professional sunbed operator will advise on the correct session length, dependent upon sunbed, skin type and stage of tan development.
A new regulation now requires all sunbeds to have a maximum irradiance level of 0.3W/m2 and this will mean the length of a session will need to be increased to achieve the same dosage.
4. Is there a link between UV exposure and skin cancer?
There are two types of skin cancer – non-melanoma which can usually be easily treated. The second is malignant melanoma, which if not treated early enough can prove fatal.

Some evidence points to sunburn and over-exposure to UV being one of the possible risk factors in contracting skin cancer. It follows, therefore, that avoiding melanomas can be helped by controlling exposure to UV – particularly in childr
Malignant melanoma is found to be most prevalent on parts of the body not normally exposed to sunlight, suggesting that it is those areas that have to deal with intermittent, excessive doses of UV that are most vulnerable – or that UV over-exposure is not the only cause.
Controlled exposure to UV, either in sunlight or on a sunbed, is important to avoid over-exposure and sunburn

5. What are the benefits of using a sunbed?
Sunbeds offer a controlled way to tan and can provide appropriate levels of UV to ensure sufficient levels of Vitamin D are achieved and maintained (see section on Vitamin D for more on this subject).

Tanning in sunlight means the body can be subjected to different levels of UV rays, depending on the time of day, location in the world, month of the year and so on. With a sunbed, a tanning programme can be developed to ensure skin type and the type of sunbed being used, are taken into consideration to ensure that over exposure, including the possibility of burning, is avoided.
6. Are sunbeds for tanning only?
If you don’t have the opportunity to go out in the sun or prefer a more private and controlled environment, indoor tanning facilities represent a viable alternative to natural sunshine for stimulating your production of Vitamin D. However, it is important to remember that the radiation that you are exposed to in an indoor tanning facility is the same as what you get from the sun. That means you need to take the same precautions that you would if you were in natural sunlight.

Hopefully this information was helpful for you, of course you can share with us what do you know about sunbeds and tanning. In part 2 we are going to tell you which are the best brands of sunbeds and also what kind of sunbed lotions you can use.

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