"This is why many people shy away from sun tanning. They don't want their skin to age too quickly."
The TRUTH: Are tanning beds safe?
Can you look golden and still protect your skin?
One million each year...
We all know that the sun can be harmful to our skin. This is why many people shy away from sun tanning. They don't want their skin to age too quickly.
Did you know that every year more than one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States alone? Despite this fact people continue to sunbathe, seemingly ignoring the safety risks.
What about tanning bed safety? Isn't it less dangerous than sun tanning?
Fact is, the UVA rays emitted from Ultraviolet A light sources in a tanning bed are two to three times more powerful than the UVA rays which occur naturally from the sun.
Scientists and most lay people agree that solar radiation is damaging to our skin. The first effect of sun damage we notice is that skin may become pink, red, or blistered from a severe burn. Forms of photo sensitivity from drug reactions (including several over the counter products) and sun poisoning may also be initiated and magnified by a tanning bed.
Some who tan not only accept, but expect their skin to pass through these damaging changes. They believe these damaging skin changes are the only path to a deep, golden bronze glow. They want to appear "healthy" and accept the pink, red, and even severe burns and blisters as necessary tribulations to get there.
What are the long-term effects of UVA exposure?
Over time, the effects of too much UVA exposure can lead to eye damage, immune system changes, cataracts, wrinkles and premature aging of the skin, and skin cancers. Look at your own skin and compare areas such as the front of your hands and your face to areas that are almost never exposed to solar radiation. The difference in skin texture, tone, wrinkles, etc. you see are caused by UVA sun exposure.
Is there any way to look golden and also protect the skin?
Famous health researcher and author Durk Pearson thinks so. The following excerpts regarding a natural carotenoid called 'Canthaxanthin' come from his best selling book, LIFE EXTENSION (Warner Books); The use of very high doses of beta carotene to reduce photosensitivity does have a cosmetic drawback, however. The beta carotene will color your skin yellow (which can also occur if you eat many carrots), making you look jaundiced. Of course, it isn't really jaundice (caused by liver failure), and your doctor will realize it immediately when he sees the whites of your eyes have not turned yellow. Nevertheless, you may not want to be carrot colored. There is another carotenoid, Canthaxanthin, which is very closely related to beta carotene. This is the material that makes flamingos and certain shellfish pink. We think it provides better protection from ultraviolet light and singlet oxygen than beta carotene, and it colors the skin a beautiful natural-looking golden-copper tan when taken orally." (pg. 422-423)
Canthaxanthin does NOT "tan" the skin, however. Only ultraviolet exposure does that. What Pearson found was that Canthaxanthin lends color to the second layer of skin and since the top layer is transparent it can show through and "give the appearance of a tan", as he said. Bodybuilders are known to use tanning beds and outdoor sunbathing in conjunction with Canthaxanthin and/or topical "tanning lotions" to achieve an extremely deep, bronzed look. Conversely, while health professionals advise against ultraviolet exposure from tanning beds, many do recommend light, regular early or late day sun exposure (avoiding mid day) for health benefits like Vitamin D synthesis and immune system boosting.
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