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The Dangers of Tanning Beds

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If you think that lying in a tanning bed is safer than lying in the sun, think again. Fake-baking is dangerous cuz the skin damage slowly creeps up on you. So before you jump into a tanning bed, take a look at why you shouldn't step foot in a tanning salon.

UVA vs. UVB

Before getting into the dangers of tanning beds, we need to cover the basics of sunlight, which has two types of ultraviolet (UV) light:

  • UVA rays, or "tanning rays," have long wavelengths that penetrate deep into your skin. They tan your skin, but don't burn you. Overexposure to UVA rays can lead to long-term skin damage.
  • UVB rays have shorter wavelengths that affect the outermost layer of skin. They're known as the "burning rays" cuz they're responsible for burning your skin. UVB is considered much more dangerous than UVA.

Although UVB is the more harmful type of radiation, UVA is linked with immune system damage and malignant melanoma. Melanoma is now the most common and deadliest form of skin cancer in women aged 25-29. Researchers also say that since UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, they destroy skin fibers and damage elasticity, causing premature aging, wrinkles and leathery skin.

Rethink Your Exposure

Tan-happy teens have hopped onto the indoor tanning bandwagon cuz they think it's the healthy and easy way to get a tan. Just think about it - you jump into a glowing bed for just 20 minutes and emerge as a bronzed god or goddess. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a healthy tan unless you're getting it out of a bottle.

Peeps who work in the tanning bed industry argue that it's safe cuz it filters out most of the UVB rays and emits mainly UVA, so you're less likely to burn and more likely to tan. However, this UVA radiation is three times the amount of radiation given off by the sun! Scary. So there you have it! Indoor tanning is just as dangerous as exposing yourself to the outdoor sun cuz both cause wrinkles and cancer down the road. When you're older and your skin is still smooth and supple, you'll be thankful that you avoided tanning beds and slathered on sunscreen with SPF 30!

Remember, the best and safest way to get a tan is to fake it - use a self-tanning lotion for your face and body, and apply bronzer to your cheeks and forehead for a warm, summery look.

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