Sun exposure is important in the body’s formation of Vitamin D. Without sun exposure, there is insufficient Vitamin D in the body as the amount obtained through oral consumption is meagre, and will lead to a higher risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. According to research, just 5-15minutes of sun exposure 4-6 days of the week is sufficient to maintain adequate Vitamin D absorption to reduce osteoporosis risk. This level was considered achievable by the general public as ou would be likely to be reaching this limits as part of normal daily activity, even with sun protective methods. There are other purported health benefits as well, although more evidence is required to substantiate them. These include possible benefits to cancers of the prostate, breast, non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
However, the greatest concern in prolonged sun exposure, in particular ultraviolet (UV) light, is the development of skin cancer. The link is well established, leading to many campaigns for sun protection. Indoor tanning actually came about as a medicinal use to promote a safe alternative to outdoor exposure to UV light and at the same time getting the health benefits associated with sunlight. Nowadays, the tanning salon and industry has grown substantially, and has become more of a cosmetic business instead. It is estimated to be worth more than $1billion in the United States alone and $6billion worldwide.
HOW SAFE ARE SELF TANNING BEDS
Light emitted from tanning equipment contains approximately 40% less UVB rays (the harmful rays) than from direct sun exposure. Tanning beds are supposed to be able to control the exposure time, and the ratio of UVA to UVB. However, indoor tanning is not risk free. There is still increased risk of skin cancers like melanomas, burns, and photoaging.
Indoor tanning may not offer any benefit over moderate sun exposure to reduce the risk of skin cancer or photoaging. Healthy sun protection is more important as daily activities will give us enough Vitamin D to meet our requirements. Sunless tanning products can serve as a safer alternative to indoor tanning, but it does not omit the need for suncreen and proper sun protection.