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How Tanning Beds Work

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How Tanning Beds Work

Tanning simply refers to the process of darkening the skin by exposing it to sunlight. This usually involves lying under the sun for long stretches of time. Some who do not have the time or the desire to follow the more natural course of lying in the sun turn to artificial methods of getting a tan. Enter tanning beds.


Tanning Beds

A tanning bed imitates the sun’s UV rays to produce an artificial tan. This bed-like structure has UV lamps well positioned to give your skin an artificial suntan when you lie in it. Because of its ability to imitate the ultraviolet radiation of the sun, a tanning bed is also known as a sun-bed. This sunbed typically emits 95% UVA and 5% UVB rays. As technology advances, more recent beds are equipped with filters that eliminate the typically harmful UVB rays, while still having the UV benefits.


How Does A Tanning Bed Work?

A tanning bed is able to produce UV radiations with the help of bulbs or UV lamps placed in it. A standard tanning bed contains between 10 and 15 lamps fixed beneath the bed. Each lamp is fitted with an inductor (otherwise known as a choke ballast) to regulate the amount of current flowing through them. Each lamp uses between 100 and 200 watts of electricity for illumination.

Once the currents are switched on, bulbs begin producing high levels of UV radiations that typically contain both UVA and UVB. This leads to faster melanin production in an individual than that which would be received from the sun.

There are different types of tanning beds. High pressure tanning beds are fitted with bulbs which are made of quartz fillers. This helps the beds produce tans that are more long lasting on the skin than those of other beds. Unfortunately, the radiations produced by this bed is much more harmful than those of regular tanning beds.

Whether you use a regular tanning bed or a high pressure tanning bed, the amount of tan you receive from one will depend on how long your skin is exposed to its rays. Basically, the longer you lay on the bed, the more the tan you receive from it. But prolonged exposure can be risky.


Tanning Bed Health Risks

Generally, tanning beds are considered safe. Even then, prolonged exposure to its radiations may lead to serious skin problems. Some prescription meditation can affect how your skin reacts to these radiations, so be open about any you are using when visiting a tanning salon.

Sensitive body parts such as the eye are endangered by this form of tanning. With that in mind, it is advised that the eyes are covered when tanning. Otherwise, the rays may penetrate the cornea, resulting in cataract which could lead to blindness – if not properly treated.

To reduce health risks, start tanning from a low dosage, watch how your skin reacts, and build up the dosage gradually. There are also numerous tanning benefits that are associated with tanning beds.

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