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A Top 10 Fact Sheet on Tanning Booths
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Tanning Booths
  1. Despite some claims to the contrary tanning booths do not provide you with a "safe tan", the ultra violet rays (UV rays) the booths emit do damage to your skin just like the sun. Tanning is the skins way of protecting itself from UV rays whether those rays are produced by the sun or by light bulbs. Overexposure to natural or artificial UV rays can cause eye injury, premature aging of the skin, rashes and inflammations, and can increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
  2. UVA rays are not safer than UVB rays as many tanning bed companies claim. UVA and UVB rays both damage the skin they just do so in different ways. UVB rays impact the surface of the skin while UVA rays penetrate to deeper layers. Both burn, UVA rays only burn deeper.
  3. Regular, long-term exposure to UV rays, be they from the sun or from artificial sources increases your risk of developing skin cancer. Two types of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell, are treatable if detected early enough but melanoma, another type of skin cancer, can be fatal.
  4. Because too much exposure to UV rays can damage the retina Food and Drug Administration requires tanning salon owners to ask all customers to wear protective eye wear. This is because studies have proven that overexposure to UVA rays can burn the cornea, and that in time this damage can actually change the structure of the lens making it cloud and forming a cataract. Untreated cataracts can lead to blindness. Simply closing your eyes, wearing ordinary sunglasses, or covering your eyes with a towel or cotton will not properly protect your cornea from the type of UV radiation found in tanning booths.
  5. Regular exposure to the UV rays found in tanning booths can increase the type of damage done to your skin by ordinary sunlight. This is because ultraviolet light thins the skin making it less able to heal itself and the deeply penetrating UVA rays leave skin vulnerable longer.
  6. Unprotected exposure to UV rays also results in premature aging of your skin. This means wrinkles and dark spots! Skin tans because it has been damaged and damaged skin that is more likely to wrinkle and sag than skin that has been protected. Skin that has suffered UV damage in youth often appears dry, wrinkled, and leathery in middle age.
  7. Tanning booths do not dry up acne or help scars to heal and fade, in fact tanning booths can make both conditions worse over time. The drying effects of UV rays can cause your skin to overproduce oil (sebum) and this can actually make you break out more as there is now more oils on the skin waiting to clog your pores. As for scars, exposure to UV light can make new wounds scar with a darker color and can make old scars stand out even more.
  8. While cellulite on tanned skin does appear less noticeable the UV rays involved in tanning can actually make the problem worse with time. By breaking down the skin and making it thinner and less resilient tanning can make cellulite on untanned skin look worse - a vicious circle!
  9. Whether you tan in the sun or in tanning booths, studies have shown that when combined with certain medicines, birth control pills, cosmetics, and soaps UV rays can actually accelerate skin burns or produce painful adverse skin reactions.
  10. All sunscreens provide some level of protection against UVB rays but no product screens out all UVA rays and UVA rays are the type of rays found in tanning booths. Some may advertise UVA protection, but there's no system yet for rating UVA protection and therefore no way of being sure that you are actually being protected by your sunscreen. Even with a high SPF sunscreen, there's no way to know exactly how much UVA protection you're getting.

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