Do Tanning Beds increase your Vitamin D? Or do they cause skin cancer? Do you know what the truth is & what is myth when it comes to sun beds? Below are the answers you may have been wondering about….
True or False:
Tanning Beds Provide a Good Source of Vitamin D?…. False.
Light provided by the sun & tanning booths come in two different kinds: UVA rays & UVB rays.
UVA rays are longer & penetrate your skin to deeper layers. UVB rays are shorter & only penetrate the upper layers of skin – UVB rays are also the type that trigger the synthesis of vitamin D.
Unfortunately, because the healthier UVB rays only penetrate the top layers of skin – they are more likely to cause a burn & to fade quickly.
Tanning beds & sun lamps generally emit 93-99% UVA radiation increasing the benefits of a tan. This is three times the UVA radiation given off by the sun!
Therefore, tanning salons are more concerned about providing UVA rays which penetrate deeper, last longer & most importantly DO NOT provide focus to Vitamin D production.
In 2009, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified UV radiation from tanning devices as carcinogenic.
Time in the sun or a tanning bed can provide essential vitamin D?… True… (with a big “but” which will be explained as you read on)
Yes, it is true that Vitamin D is essential to the body. Vitamin D helps defend against heart disease, stroke, cancer, depression & osteoporosis.
In the months you do not get enough Vitamin D from the sun, you can feel ‘low’, or ‘down’, or ‘lacklustre’. This proves why you may suffer from ‘seasonal depression’ (SAD).
However as explained above sun beds in general emit between 1-7% UVB rays. So the benefit to vitamin D production is minimal.
The suns rays are emit more UVB rays so therefore stimulate Vit D production – a good thing.
However, like everything in life, balance is the key. Use lotion & time your exposure as not to overdo it.
Indoor Tanning Can Cause Melanoma… True.
According to webmd.com & John Overstreet, the executive director of the Indoor Tanning Association“ there are many factors involved with melanoma skin cancer.”
He also points out that, “There are a lot of studies out there & a lot of conflicting evidence about what causes melanoma.”
Research shows that there is an indisputable link between ultraviolet exposure from the sun &/or tanning beds which contributes to melanoma.
David E. Fisher, MD, PhD & Chairman of Dermatology & Director of the Melanoma Programme at Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School, Boston points out: “There is no question that ultraviolet exposure is associated with an increased risk of melanoma.”
In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that those using tanning beds before the age of 35 increased their risk of melanoma by 75%.
Reasons To Make Sure Your Vitamin D Levels Are At Optimum…
- Family history or personal history of cancer
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Autoimmune conditions (such as lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis)
- PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- Diabetes mellitus (both types 1 and 2)
In addition, anyone who experiences symptoms of:
- Musculoskeletal pain, including joint pain & low back pain
- Muscle weakness
- Poor balance
- Systemic inflammation
The Bottom Line…
If you are looking to increase your Vitamin D status to increase your mood & improve your overall health, schedule approximately 15-20 minutes of sunshine 3-4 days per week.
(Note: If you have darker skin it takes a bit longer for your skin to absorb the sun so add an additional 5 minutes.)
You may also want to consider a vitamin D3 supplement. This is simple & easily applied to your daily routine.
If you’re curious to see just how much Vitamin D you are getting, you can also look into having your Vitamin D levels tested.
Above all – never forget the importance of daily sunscreen to block the harmful rays & avoid over-exposure!
I keep my skin – especially on my face & neck – out of the sun. My brother died of melanoma eight years ago, & I’ve got SPF on all the time, 24-7. It makes you realise, the sun is a wonderful thing, but it can be a very devastating thing. So sunscreen is key, & a lot of laughter, too.
- Giada De Laurentiis
If beautiful & healthy skin is your goal – it is always better to go all natural or at the very least – determine how the tanning beds are calibrated before you trust them with your skin!
To Your Best Health,
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