Feb 29, 2012
Tanning beds may be an alternate to getting the skin bronzed under sun. But as far as the question of sourcing vitamin-d arises, the answer is no.
Fans of tan opt for tanning beds to get the desired skin colour and mistake the UVA and UVB lights produced by these machines to suffice for their vitamin-d needs.
Before picking our option of getting artificially tanned, it is important to know how tanning beds effect our skin and if they vitamin-d like sun.
Dr. Deborah S.Sarnoff (MD) is clinical professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine, and in private practice in Manhattan and Long Island. She says “a tanning bed will never provide you with the vitamin D that you need, nor is it safer than tanning outdoors. Not understanding the facts can literally mean the difference between life and death.”
“Both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation cause cell damage that can lead to skin cancer. When you lie in an indoor tanning bed, you are exposed primarily to UVA, which penetrates deep into the surface of the skin, damaging the cells beneath and prematurely aging your skin. But it is UVB (the sun burning rays) — not UVA — which helps the skin make vitamin D, so you are increasing your risk of skin cancer without receiving any benefit” she adds.
It is a common misconception that UV rays emitted by these beds are controlled and do not put your skin at any risks. At least the salons providing this service tell you so. But Dr. Sarnoff says otherwise “a “controlled dose” of UV radiation from a tanning bed is a dangerous dose: frequent tanners using high-pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to the dose they receive from sun exposure.”
“It’s estimated that 10 minutes in a tanning bed matches the cancer-causing effects of 10 minutes in the Mediterranean summer sun. This may be one reason that indoor tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than those who have never tanned indoors, and that people who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, the two most common skin cancers. In addition to increasing your risk of skin cancer and accelerating signs of skin aging like wrinkles and brown spots, UV radiation also weakens the immune system — which further increases your risk for skin cancer” she informs.
While there is no question that vitamin D is essential for strong bones and a healthy immune system, current evidence does not support its role in the prevention of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, heart disease and stroke. Adults should obtain their recommended daily dose of 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D safely, from foods such as oily fish and fortified dairy products and cereals.
Another easy way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D is to take supplements. She strongly advises against exposure to artificial UV radiation (tanning beds), since the health risks — including skin cancer and premature skin aging — are significant and potentially life-threatening.
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