Indoor tanning




Indoor tanning involves the utilization of a device that emits ultraviolet radiation to produce a cosmetic tan.


The  most common device is a horizontal tanning bed, also known as a sunbed or solarium. 


There are vertical devices,known as tanning booths or stand-up sunbeds.


Tanning lamps, ate also known as tanning bulbs or tanning tubes, produce the ultraviolet light in tanning devices. 


Most are low-pressure fluorescent tubes, but high-pressure bulbs also exist. 


More than 400,000 annual cases of skin cancer, approximately 6000 of which are melanoma, are estimated to be related to such indoor tanning in the United States. 


Tanning of any duration increases the relative risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma by 1.67.

Nearly one of every three white women ages 16-25 years engages in indoor tanning.


Women, 16–25 years old, seek i door tanning to improve their appearance or mood, acquire a pre-holiday tan, or treat a skin condition.


Approximately 18% of adults, 45% of   ollege students, and 22% of adolescents  have tanned indoors in the previous  year (2007-2012 study).


It is a source of UV radiation, which is known to cause skin cancers, including melanoma and skin aging.


It is associated with sunburn, photodrug reactions, infections, weakening of the immune system, and damage to the eyes, including cataracts, photokeratitis and eye tumors.


Indoor tanning devices lead to over 3,000 emergency-room cases a year in the United States.


Indoor tanning devices are used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis.


World Health Organization does not recommend their use of indoor tanning devices for cosmetic purposes.


Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, just beyond visible light. 


Ultraviolet wavelengths range from are 100 to 400 nanometres (nm, billionths of a meter).


Ultraviolet wavelengths are divided into three bands: A, B and C. 


UVA wavelengths are the longest, 315 to 400 nm; UVB are 280 to 315 nm, and UVC wavelengths are the shortest, 100 to 280 nm.


About 95% of the UVR that reaches the earth from the sun is UVA


About 5% of UVR is UVB.


No appreciable UVC reaches the earth. 


Tanning devices presently produce no UVC, a small amount of UVB and mostly UVA.


UVR is classified by the WHO as a group 1 carcinogen.


UVR also triggers the synthesis of vitamin D and endorphins in the skin.


Radiation UVB from of beds is on average lower than the summer sun at latitudes 37°S to 35°N, but that UVA radiation  is on average much higher.


High-pressure beds may emit 10–15 times more UVA than the midday sun.


UVA gives an immediate, short-term tan by bronzing melanin in the skin, but no new melanin is formed. 


UVB has no immediate bronzing effect.


UVB, after delay of 72 hours makes the skin produce new melanin, leading to tans of longer duration. 


UVA is less likely to cause burning or dry skin than UVB.



UVA is associated with more wrinkling and loss of elasticity than UVB because it penetrates deeper.


Lotions are applied that moisturize the skin with ingredients such as aloe vera, hempseed oil and sunflower seed oil.


Eye protection is worn to avoid eye damage.


There is a higher prevalence among women and girls than men and boys.


The late teens to early–mid 20s is the highest-prevalence age group.


The use in the US are in decline.


Tanning beds  use is more prevalent in northern countries.


Indoor tanning rationale: improving appearance, acquiring a pre-holiday tan, feeling good and treating a skin condition.


Feelings of well-being after exposure to tanning beds is reported to be related to increased  serum beta-endorphin levels.


Beta-endorphin is associated with feelings of relaxation and euphoria.


The improved appearance is the most common reason. 


Studies indicate to many tanned skin signifies: health, beauty, youth and the ability to seduce.


Women prefer their appearance with tanned skin,  making them look thinner toned, and that it covers or heals skin blemishes.


It provides a base tan for further sunbathing, suggesting a uniform tan is easier to achieve in a tanning unit than in the sun, and a desire to avoid tan lines.


Tanning beds deliver more consistent, predictable exposure than the sun, but indoor tanners do suffer burns. 


Surveys show 58% of indoor tanners had been burned during sessions.


Vitamin D is produced by exposure to UVB, whether from sunlight or an artificial source.


Adults who used tanning beds have elevated levels of 25(OH)D along with higher hip bone density.


Skin conditions, including keratosis, psoriasis, eczema and acne, may be treated with UVB light therapy.


PUVA refers to UV light therapy in combination with psoralen, an oral or topical medication.


Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR), whether from the sun or tanning devices is known to be a major cause of the three main types of skin cancer: non-melanoma skin cancer-basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.


UVR induces at least two types of DNA damage.


DNA repair enzymes can fix some DNA mutations, but if they are not sufficiently effective, a cell will acquire genetic mutations which may cause the cell to die or become cancerous. 


Squamous cell carcinoma can be caused by a UVB-induced mutation in the p53 gene.


Epidemiological studies found a 20% increase in the risk of melanoma among those who had ever used a tanning device compared to those who had not, and a 59% percent increase among those who had used one before age 35.


UV radiation exposure is associated with other skin changes including:


skin aging, wrinkle production, liver spots, loss of skin elasticity, erythema, sunburn, snow blindness), ocular melanoma 25] and infections.


Tanning beds can contain many bacterial pathogens that can cause skin infections and gastric distress.


Common pathogens found on tanning beds: Pseudomonas spp. , Bacillus spp., Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterococcus species, Staphylococcus aureus, and Enterobacter cloacae.


Tanning can cause photosensitivity with exposure to many drugs including


antidepressants, antibiotics, antifungals and anti-diabetic medication.


Exposure to artificial tanning increases the risk of malignant melanoma and that the longer the exposure, the greater the risk, particularly those exposed before the age of 30 or who have been sunburned.


Addiction to indoor tanning is a psychiatric disorder, associated with anxiety, eating disorders and smoking (tanker is).


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies tanning beds as moderate risk devices.

Tanning devices carry a black box warning that they should not be used on the under-18s.


Under  the Affordable Care Act, a 10% tanning tax.


Code of Federal Regulations is designed to ensure that the devices adhere to a set of safety rules, with the primary focus on sunbed and lamp manufacturers regarding maximum exposure times and product equivalence. 

Recommended Exposure Schedule are posted on both the front of the tanning bed and in the owners’ manual.



States control regulations for salons, regarding operator training, sanitization, eyewear, and additional warning signs. 



Many states also ban or regulate the use of tanning beds by minors under the age of 18.


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