For many, summertime means fun-in-the-sun time which means it’s an important time to remember to protect your skin. In August we celebrate Summer Sun Safety. The sun is the primary source of ultraviolet (UV) rays. When talking about skin health, the two most important types of UV rays are UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause long-term skin damage which leads to skin aging and wrinkles. UVB rays cause more immediate damage such as sunburns. Both UVA and UVB rays are believed to play a role in skin cancer.
Some people prefer to get their summer tan by visiting a tanning bed. Tanning beds and sun lamps emit these harmful rays in more concentrated doses than the sun. It’s estimated that the lamps used in tanning beds emit UVA rays 12 times the dose as the sun. These powerful doses of UV rays come with a risk. Regular use of tanning beds triples or even quadruples the risk of developing melanoma. Those who begin tanning younger than age 15 have a 75% higher risk of melanoma.  Yet people continue to use tanning beds regularly. Even more shocking, a new study shows that one in seven tanners diagnosed with skin cancer continue to use tanning beds after diagnosis. 
Why do people continue to use tanning beds? There seems to be two popular answers: to be tan and to relax.
If getting a tan is your goal, there are safer ways to achieve a sun-kissed, radiant glow. Consider spray tanning instead. Cost wise, professional spray tanning is comparable to using a tanning bed, without the damaging UV rays. At-home tanning lotions are also inexpensive, and some even have SPF which protects your skin. Bronzer swept across your brow and cheek bones can also give you an instant and safe tan.
Rather than tanning to relax, treat yourself to a massage, try a yoga class, or spend time meditating or taking long walks. Whether you use tanning beds or not, it is important to always protect your skin from damaging UV rays. For tips on protecting your skin, check out our recent blog post “Love the Skin You’re In Literally!”