sunbed, with lights off.
sunbed (British English), tanning
bed (American English) or sun tanning
bed is a device that emits ultraviolet
radiation (typically 95% UVA and 5% UVB,
+/-3%) to produce a cosmetic tan.
Regular tanning beds use several fluorescent
lamps that have phosphor
blends designed to emit UV in a spectrum that
is somewhat similar to the sun. Smaller, home
tanning beds usually have 12 to 28 100 watt
lamps while systems found in tanning salons
can consist of 24 to 60 lamps, each of 100
to 200 watts.
are also "high pressure" tanning beds that
generate primarily UVA with some UVB by using
highly specialized quartz lamps, reflector
systems and filters. These are much more expensive,
thus less commonly used. A tanning
booth is similar to a tanning bed, but
the person stands while tanning and the typical
power output of booths is higher.
of the adverse effects on human health of
overexposure to UV radiation, including skin
suppression of the immune system, and premature
aging, the World
Health Organization does not recommend
the use of UV tanning devices for cosmetic
reasons. Most tanning beds emit mainly UVA
rays — which increase the risk of melanoma,
the deadliest form of skin
cancer. Misusing a sunbed by not wearing
goggles may also lead
to a condition known as arc
eye (snow blindness). Occasional acute
injuries occur where users carelessly fall
asleep, as in the case of Marty
tanning lamp with F71T12 markings. This
example is a 71 inch, bi-pin, 100 watt
model, the most common
beds use lamps to cause a person to tan. Most
tanning beds use choke
ballasts, a technology that has been around
for about 100 years, consisting of an inductor
which limits amount of current passing through,
and requires a lamp starter to preheat the
ends of the lamp briefly at start. Newer ballast
systems include magnetic
ballasts and more recently high
frequency ballasts that induce tanning
and other fluorescent lamps to work using
less wattage, by using higher frequencies.
In general, newer ballast designs produce
less heat and are more energy efficient.
ballasts control the power sent to the lamps,
so that a 160W lamp in a tanning bed that
has 100W ballasts, will only deliver 100W
to the lamp and may actually create less UV
and shorter lamp life since the bulb is designed
for higher current. The lamp
starter part of the bed (small tan cylinder)
is used only on beds with choke ballasts and
is a plasma starting switch. It has no bearing
on how powerful the bed is.
lamps (and other plasma devices such as
low pressure tanning lamps work when the ballast
directs enough energy to the lamp that a plasma
is generated inside the lamp. The lamps are
coated on the inside with special phosphors
and contain a small amount of mercury (20 mg
typical). Unlike high pressure lamps, the
glass that is used in low pressure lamps automatically
filters out all UVC .
the plasma is fully flowing (less than one
second), the plasma strips away the outer
electrons from the mercury, sending them into
the phosphor, which produces photons in the
proper spectrum for tanning. The electrons,
now in a lower energy state, will jump back
into place onto the first mercury atom they
find with an electron missing.
surfaces on which a person lies and which
shield the user by physical separation from
the lamps on the bench and canopy are typically
referred to as the "acrylics". Acrylics are
manufactured from a base material of Polymethyl
Methacrylate (PMMA), type UVT (UV-transmitting),
which has been formulated to have a spectral
transmittance in the wavelength region 290-400 nm.
This should not be confused with a standard
acrylic, or "plexiglass", which would not
transmit within this spectral range, effectively
inhibiting the tanning properties of the unit.
resins are typically cell-cast or extruded
into sheet and then thermoformed to manufacture
the acrylics. On occasion, depending on the
complexity of the part, the resin will be
injection molded. It is due to the expense
of the specially formulated resin, handling
considerations and manufacturing processes
which drive the cost of acrylic parts, which
can be high when compared to standard grade
acrylic which can be purchased at your local
home improvement store.
acrylic materials should never be cleaned
with any agent containing alcohol (i.e. glass
cleaner), as this will adversely affect the
material surface causing a phenomenon known
a "crazing". This will present itself as small
fissures resembling spiderwebs forming where
stresses are most concentrated on the part
and in the region which was subjected to the
shields break down over time as they are exposed
to UV and oxygen and must be reconditioned
or replaced every few years.
mainstream tanning beds built today use similar
electronics, with the primary differences
being in the design and quality of the frame
and shell of the bed, as well as the number
and type of lamps used. The newer electronics
are very promising because of their lower
power usage, cooler running temperature, and
more environmentally friendly components.
tanning bed in operation
by the tanning industry to frame artificial
UV radiation as a product associated with
health and fitness have been challenged successfully
by proponents of public health such as the
Health Organization’s International
Agency for Research on Cancer, the US
Department of Health and Human Services,
the European Union, the Canadian Cancer Society,
the Canadian Pediatric Society, several provinces
in Canada, and states throughout Australia
and the United States.
US FDA and the FTC forbid use of the words
"safe" or "safer than" regarding indoor tanning,
in response to a claims by the tanning industry
that indoor tanning provides greater control
over UV exposure to customers over outdoor
exposure. E.g. it is claimed that a tanning
bed offers an environment that delivers consistent,
predictable exposure. However, there is no
evidence that this provides a safe or even
safer environment, and a number of studies
demonstrate that indoor tanners are quite
likely to get burned and suffer other skin
damage during their indoor tanning sessions.
frequently claimed benefit of artificial tanning
is the increased production of vitamin
D. UVR exposure is highly variable and
depends on several factors. Skin phenotype,
as measured on the Fitzpatrick
scale, influences the skin’s response
to UV radiation. Fitzpatrick Types I and II
(fair skin, eyes, and hair) burn easily and
can produce maximal vitamin D photosynthesis
in less than 10 minutes of midday sun. People
with Fitzpatrick Types I and II are at the
highest risk of photodamage (whether from
the sun or artificial tanning) and are at
the lowest risk of vitamin D insufficiency
if photosynthesis occurs. Other variables
include quantity of skin exposed, and the
degree of one's vitamin D deficiency. The
human body can produce up to 10,000 IUs of
vitamin D in 10 minutes, as it can with exposure
to natural sunlight. Many people with indoor
lifestyles may not receive enough. When artificial
UVR was introduced commercially, devices used
similar UVA and UVB ratios as the Sun. Tanning
bed emitters have varied in the mix and intensity
of UVA and UVB generated. Recently, high-intensity
UVA-emitting lamps have been introduced to
achieve more efficient tanning in shorter
sessions; these have a much lower ratio of
UVB to UVA, and are much less effective for
the purpose of Vitamin D production.
a research project funded by the United
States National Institutes of Health and
a grant from the UV Foundation, Tangpricha,
V. et al. identified, "the regular use of
a tanning bed that emits vitamin D–producing
ultraviolet radiation is associated with higher
25(OH)D concentrations and thus may have a
benefit for the skeleton." Michael F. Holick,
an investigator in the study, declared a conflict
of interest because he serves as a consultant
to the UV Foundation. The UV Foundation garners
financial support from the Indoor Tanning
Association, OSRAM (a German lamp and lighting
company), and Future Industries (a United
States importer of tanning beds, tanning bed
supplies, and lamps). Most scientists thus
question the study's validity and disagree
with these conclusions. The Institute
of Medicine (IOM) recently completed an
exhaustive review of Vitamin D benefits and
requirements, and concluded that at present,
conclusive evidence of Vitamin D's benefit
can only be stated for bone health, but that
many more areas require further study.
can acquire Vitamin D from dietary sources
and vitamin supplements, without the need
for UVR exposure for vitamin D production,
an exposure that carries substantial overlap
with DNA damage. The European Commission Health
and Consumer Protection Directorate (Scientific
Committee on Consumer Products) has concluded
that dietary vitamin D intake, along with
oral supplements and intermittent testing
of Vitamin D levels, is thought to be likely
more effective than tanning, without incurring
a carcinogenic risk
Canada, following a complaint to the Competition
Bureau in 2005 by the Canadian Cancer society,
a subsequent consent agreement with the largest
chain of tanning salons in the country stipulated
that they: 1) "Stop making representations
to the public linking indoor tanning with
the unproven benefits of Vitamin D," 2) acknowledge
in any promotion of artificial UVR that "Tanning
is not required to generate vitamin D. Vitamin
D levels in the body may be maintained by
oral supplements without tanning," and (3)
pay an administrative monetary penalty
is no evidence that tanning beds have any
effect in the treatment of seasonal
Indoor Tanning Association settled with the
FTC in January 2010 regarding false health
and safety claims about indoor tanning. Contrary
to claims in the association’s advertising,
indoor tanning increases the risk of squamous
cell and melanoma skin cancers, according
to the FTC complaint. The association has
agreed to a settlement that bars it from any
further deception. "The messages promoted
by the indoor tanning industry fly in the
face of scientific evidence," said David C.
Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer
Protection. "The industry needs to do a better
job of communicating the risks of tanning
to consumers." The FTC complaint alleges that
in March 2008, the association launched an
advertising campaign designed to portray indoor
tanning as safe and beneficial. The campaign
included two national newspaper ads, television
and video advertising, two Web sites, a communications
guide, and point-of-sale materials that were
provided to association members for distribution
in local markets.
to ultraviolet radiation is known to cause
skin cancer, advance
aging and wrinkling,
mutate DNA, and reduce
immune system response. Frequent tanning bed
use triples the risk of developing melanoma,
the deadliest form of skin cancer. Children
and adolescents who use tanning beds are at
greater risk because of biological vulnerability
to ultraviolet radiation.
the 2006 film Final
Destination 3 two teenage girls were
murdered in tanning beds when a wood board
falls in between the beds, locking them in,
as another chain reaction caused by a leaky
frozen beverage increased the heat level,
burning them alive.
the 1998 film I
Still Know What You Did Last Summer
a young girl was locked in a sunbed by a murderer
when the attacker used a twist
tie to keep the bed from opening. The
girl started screaming but her friends came,
broke the twist tie and rescued her.
the TV show Urban
Legends on Discovery
Channel a story was told about a young
bride who wanted to be more tan. She used
tanning beds three times each day until the
wedding. On the day of the wedding, she feels
bad symptoms and immediately dies, and it
was later discovered that she over-tanned
herself, cooking her insides, killing her.
and skin cancers
Public Health Service states that UV
radiation, including the use of sun lamps
and sun beds are "known to be a human carcinogen."
It further states that the risk of developing
cancer in the years after exposure is greatest
in people under 30 years old. A Report of
Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) suggested
in 2005 that policymakers should consider
enacting measures, such as prohibiting minors
and discouraging young adults from using indoor
tanning facilities. Since then, many states
have mandated parental consent for persons
under the age of 18 prior to tanning bed use.
is scientific evidence that each of the three
main types of skin cancer, basal
cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous
cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma, is
caused by UV exposure. Women who visited a
tanning parlor at least once a month were
55% more likely to later develop melanoma
than women who did not artificially suntan.
women who used sun lamps for tanning while
in their 20s had the largest increase in subsequent
cancer risk – about 150% higher than similar
women who did not use tanning beds. Overexposure
to ultraviolet radiation induces at least
two common genetic
mutations. Those include cyclobutane–pyrimidine
dimers (CPDs) and 6–4 photoproducts (6–4PPs)
and their Dewar valence isomers.
mutation types generally differ between UVA
and UVB light. Mutant cells may die, or become
cancerous, depending on which genes were mutated.
While DNA repair enzymes can fix some mutations,
they are not sufficiently effective, as demonstrated
by the relation to cancer, aging and other
types of persistent mutation and cell death.
For example, squamous cell carcinoma (a type
of skin cancer) is caused by a UVB induced
mutation in the p53 gene.
light specifically (sometimes called 'bronzing
light') is clearly associated with increased
aging and wrinkle
production. UVA and UVB both penetrate the
skin, creating free
radicals and reactive oxygen species,
which in turn damage DNA. Most aging of skin
is due to UVA rays destroying collagen
and connective tissue beneath the superficial
layer of the skin. UVB rays cause skin to
burn and directly damages DNA by interfering
with its replication cycle. Excessive exposure
to UVA radiation has its risks, which may
cause premature aging, including wrinkles,
sunspots, and loss
of skin elasticity.
a sunbed without goggles
may lead to a condition known as arc
July 2009, the IARC
released a report that placed tanning beds
in its highest cancer risk category, "carcinogenic
to humans." The agency, which is part of the
Health Organization (WHO), previously
classified tanning beds as "probably carcinogenic."
The change comes after an analysis of more
than 20 epidemiological studies indicating
that people who begin using tanning devices
before age 30 are 75% more likely to develop
melanoma, the most
deadly type of skin cancer.
Press article stated, "International cancer
experts have moved tanning beds and other
sources of ultraviolet radiation into the
top cancer risk category, deeming them as
deadly as arsenic
Irish Health Minister in August 2009 said
that she is considering outlawing the industry
completely given that tanning beds are dangerous
and are hugely contributing to people developing
skin cancer. In
June 2014, Ireland
announced it was implementing a law banning
the use of, hire and sale of tanning beds,
which they termed sunbeds, involving people
under 18 from July 2014. A similar measure
was introduced in neighboring Northern
Ireland in May 2012.
yes, tanning also ages the skin prematurely,
spots, saggy skin, and wrinkles years
before your time."
a recent review of the literature by the Canadian
Pediatric Society: "Up to one-quarter of sunbed
users report one or more adverse health effects
other than skin cancer. Erythema and sunburn
are the most common artificial UVR-exposure
complications. Also reported are more serious
burn and other injuries, as well various potential
infections. Other frequent side effects include
skin dryness, pruritus, nausea, photodrug
reactions (including popular acne medications
used by teens), disease exacerbation and disease
induction. Long-term health effects include
skin-aging and effects on the eyes similar
to that arising from natural UVR exposure"
Canadian Pediatric Society has also raised
the concern that "repeated UVR exposures,
and the use of indoor tanning beds specifically,
may have important systemic and behavioural
consequences, including mood changes, compulsive
disorders, pain and physical dependency."
Evidence for this comes from several scientific
articles. In one, indoor tanners reported
mood enhancement, relaxation and socialization
consistent with reinforcement patterns seen
with smoking addiction. In a randomized clinical
trial, the administration of an opiate-receptor
blocker induced withdrawal-like symptoms among
frequent tanners, suggesting an opiate-like
addiction. Study of youthful frequent indoor
tanning bed users demonstrated addictive-like
biologic explanation for the addictive potential
of tanning may be that the UV-tanning response
involves melanin stimulating hormone (MSH)
production, and this may accompanied by the
release of ß-endorphin, which shares the same
precursor peptide (propriomelanocortin). The
production of ß-endorphin is produced in the
same pathway was shown in a study exploring
the pathway of the tanning response. Another
study, however, concluded that there were
no significant differences in the mean plasma
levels of ß-endorphin between people who were
exposed to tanning beds and those who were
beds can contain many microbes, some of which
are pathogens that can cause skin infections
or can be ingested and cause gastric distress.
The most common pathogens found on tanning
beds are: Pseudomonas
aureus, and Enterobacter
and adolescents who use tanning beds are at
greater risk because of biological vulnerability
to UV radiation. Epidemiological studies have
shown that exposure to artificial tanning
increases the risk of malignant melanoma and
that the longer the exposure, the greater
the risk, particularly in individuals exposed
before the age of 30 or who have been sunburned.
is increasing faster in females 15–29 years
old than males in the same age group. In females
15–29 years old, the torso is the most common
location for developing melanoma, which may
be the result of high-risk tanning behaviors.
study conducted amongst a college student
population found that awareness of the risks
of tanning beds did not deter the students
from using them. A study published in Pediatrics
in 2002 identified the main psychosocial factors
of children and adolescents who using tanning
beds as: having friends who tan, the belief
that it’s ok to get burned in order to achieve
a good tan, and that having tanned skin is
more attractive and healthier looking than
describes the inability of an individual to
stop artificially tanning, and has been indicated
among teenagers who regularly tan indoors
and admit to being unable to stop.
a national sample of non-Hispanic white teenagers,
24% of respondents [or 2.9 million teens]
between the ages of 13 to 19 reported using
a tanning facility at least once in their
lives. Nationally, more than 25% of teenage
girls have used tanning salons three or more
times in their lives. Ten percent of teens
visit tanning salons weekly. Teenagers are
frequent targets of the tanning industry’s
highly visible marketing tactics, attracting
teens through coupons and media outlets, and
going as far as placing ads in high school
newspapers. It is difficult for a teen to
resist offers for free tanning trial periods,
membership deals, steep discounts, or "unlimited
children and adolescents who use indoor tanning
facilities for cosmetic reasons, the focus
on perceived, immediate benefits overshadows
the cumulative risks and consequences in the
future. Parents, pediatricians, public health
practitioners, and lawmakers are rallying
support to provide more comprehensive information
and support to young people who use tanning
May 2012 Northern Ireland banned the use,
hire and sale of tanning beds for children
and teenagers under 18. A similar law was
announced in Ireland in June 2014, to be effective
from July 2014.
July 23, 2003, Brazil outlawed the use of
tanning beds for minors. The ban was expanded
to persons of all ages in 2009. The Brazilian
government also deemed the use of tanning
beds unnecessary, due to the tropical temperatures
in Latin America.
is discussing new regulations that would limit
the amount of UVB allowed in tanning lamps
and devices. In the United Kingdom (except
for Northern Ireland), anyone under 18 years
of age will be banned from using sunbeds,
as this legislation was passed by Parliament.
This also includes salons.
Elsewhere in Europe, under 18s are prohibited
from indoor tanning in Belgium, The Netherlands,
Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Iceland,
Norway and Lithuania.
Province of Ontario re-introduced the Skin
Cancer Prevention Act (Bill 74) on April
26, 2012, with the goal of protecting youth
under the age of 18 from the dangers associated
with indoor tanning by restricting youth access
and requiring that all indoor tanning facilities
post health warnings in clear view of customers.
December 9, 2010, the Province of Nova Scotia
passed Bill 102 - this bill effectively bans
minors under 19 from indoor tanning.
January 12, 2011, the Capital Regional District
(CRD) of Victoria British Columbia passed
Bylaw No.3711. The bylaw regulates the indoor
tanning industry, and includes provisions
to ban teens under 18 from using tanning beds
in thirteen municipalities and two regional
districts on lower Vancouver Island. The CRD
staff reported that Vancouver, Toronto and
ten other Canadian cities have expressed interest.
June, 2012, the province of Quebec adopted
the law 74. This law prohibit tanning bed
for minors under 18.
of July 2012, the provinces of British Columbia,
Quebec and Newfoundland have also announced
plans to ban minors from indoor tanning.
the fall of 2012, Canadians MP's will be voting
on Private Member's Bill C-386 tabled by conservative
MP James Bezan in an attempt to ban tanning
beds for those under 18 years of age, and
strengthen warning labels on tanning beds
for Canadians of all ages. http://www.jamesbezan.com/news.asp?newsID=2103
August 13, 2012, the Town of Oakville became
the first municipality in Ontario to ban the
use of tanning beds for individuals under
the age of 18.
sunbed industry in New
Zealand operates under a voluntary code
of practice. A 2009 survey, as well as surveys
in other years by Consumer New Zealand, found
that there was a high level of non-compliance
with the code. Various health organisations
are calling for mandatory regulation of the
2009 and 2012, the number of sunbed operators
in Auckland dropped from 73 to 39, as tougher
regulations were introduced.
the United States,
the maximum exposure time in most tanning
beds is 20 minutes but varies from bed to
bed. This is calculated by the manufacturer
according to the amount of time needed to
produce four MEDs (minimal erythemal
doses). This is essentially four times the
amount of UV that is required to produce a
reddening on unexposed skin. A person would
start with a much shorter session time and
work their way to the maximum exposure time
in about four weeks. Every tanning bed is
required to have a "Recommended Exposure Schedule"
on both the front of the tanning bed and in
the owners manual. It must also list the original
lamp that was certified for that particular
tanning bed, and salon owners must replace
the lamps with either exactly the same lamp,
or a lamp that is certified by the lamp manufacturer
to be . Lamp replacement and salon compliance
is regulated by the individual state in the
USA, whereas the manufacturing and sale of
new equipment is regulated by the federal
many factors can change the performance of
any given individual lamp, the United States
and Drug Administration requires that
every tanning bed model is certified separately,
and lamps themselves do not have MED ratings.
Lamps do have typical TE (or Time Exposure)
ratings, but these are not used for certifying
beds. Session times on beds can range from
5 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on many
factors. In 2010, an FDA panel recommended
banning the use of tanning beds for people
under 18 years old.
2010, to help fund the $940 billion health
care overhaul, a 10% tax on individuals receiving
indoor tanning services was tacked on, and
the initiative is expected to generate $2.7
billion over ten years. The IRS
has created audit guides for revenue
agents concerning indoor tanning services.
and Drug Administration advisory board,
World Health Organization, American Medical
Association, American Academy for Dermatology,
and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
support legislation for a federal ban against
the use of tanning salons by persons under
the age of 18. Numerous states have proposed
or enacted bills for restricting use of tanning
beds by children and adolescents. Factors
influencing the passage or failure of these
bills include: lawmakers’ unwillingness to
infringe on young people’s freedom of choice,
and the glamorization of a tan leading to
inadequate skin protection.
of Tanning Beds for Minors
states have regulated the use of tanning beds
for minors. California banned minors under
the age of 18 from using tanning beds. The
previous law allowed tanning bed use for minors
between the age of 14 and 18 only by parental
consent. Lawmakers in the state cited health
concerns over the use of ultraviolet rays
in tanning beds. Texas, a state known for
limited regulation, signed Senate Bill 238
into law in 2013 banning minors from indoor
tanning. The bill overturned a law allowing
minors between 16 1/2 and 18 to tan with parental
January 1, 1993, and every year following,
owners of artificial tanning facilities must
register the facility with Colorado Department
of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and
pay appropriate registration fees. Owners
of such facilities are required to: 1) Provide
CDPHE with the safe and proper operation of
the tanning device 2) Post a sign on the premises
notifying patrons of the safety and health
risks associated with using the tanning devices.
This notice must be of a noticeable size and
be easily read and found by users. 3) Provide
patrons with a written handout, which includes
the negative health effects of the device,
UV radiation exposure, safety equipment that
should be used while tanning and information
about the device itself. 4) Provide the users
with the safety equipment required by CDPHE.
5) Provide and maintain sanitation and cleaning
of equipment. 6) Report accidents or adverse
reactions to CDPHE. 7) Employees or owner
of facility cannot promote or advertise that
using tanning beds is safe and risk-free.
in other states: most state require written
parental/guardian permission for children
under 18. Some states ban tanning for 16 and
14-year-olds (and under). 21 states to introduce
new regulations in 2011-2012, most would prohibit
under-18-year-olds from using facilities.
Australia, the solarium
industry is regulated on a state by state
basis. The first states to regulate solarium
use were Victoria, South Australia and Western
Australia in 2008 following the death of skin
cancer victim Clare Oliver. The 2008 regulations
cited that solarium operators must be licensed,
unsupervised solariums were banned and health
warnings must be displayed. In Victoria, those
under the age of 16 and people with fair skin
were banned from using solariums and those
aged 16 and 17 were required to have parental
consent whereas in South Australia and Western
Australia, an outright ban for the under 18s
February 2009, the Victorian Government introduced
further changes to the management licence
for tanning units, including applying a ban
for the under 18s, consistent with the revised
Australian standard, released in January 2009.
Victorian solarium legalisation was revised
in late 2010, strengthening some controls
around sighting evidence of age documents
in relation to excluding persons under 18.
Australian standard requires that operators
must: (a) ban people under 18 years of age
from using their solarium, (b) cite evidence-of-age
documents for clients who may be under 18,
(c) ban people with very fair skin (skin type
I) from using their solarium, (d) display
mandatory health warnings, (e) provide a consent
form outlining the risks of solarium use for
customers to read and sign, (f) complete a
skin assessment of all clients, (g) ensure
all staff have completed training in carrying
out skin assessments and determining exposure
times, and (h) ensure clients wear protective
South Wales, Queensland, ACT and Tasmania
introduced legislation applying these standards
in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, the New South Wales
government called for public submissions in
relation to a proposal to extend the age ban
from using solariums to those under 30. In
February 2012 the New South Wales Government
announced its intention to ban tanning beds,
starting in 2014. In October 2013, the Victorian
parliament passed an official ban on solariums,
which will take effect by 2015.
to natural tanning
tanning beds have about the same amount of
UVA as sunlight (as opposed to UVB), while
the 'warning signs' of overexposure, such
as sunburn, do not appear at the same rate
indoors as out. Furthermore, the radiation
levels are more intense, requiring individuals
to limit their exposure to very brief periods.
The carcinogenic mutations in some skin cancers
have been linked to UVA radiation more than
UVB, suggesting that beds have different risks
than natural light. The UVA light is also
more strongly associated with skin aging than
UVB, and with genetic damage.
sunlight exposure has made studies of artificial
tanning difficult, since all people are exposed
to the natural sun. There are indisputable
values to moderate sunlight exposure. UVB
light induces the body to synthesize Vitamin
D. Vitamin D is
required for calcium absorption, and improves
development and reduces cancer risk. The amount
of sunlight required per day is estimated
to be approximately the same that a single
tanning session provides (10 minutes of strong
sunlight every day for many people).
sun emits UVR in the form of A, B, and C waves.
They are named according to the length of
the wave and are associated with various health
events. The ozone affects UVR from the sun
and different amounts reach the earth's surface
depending on the wavelength. Sunbeds can have
the same health effects as UVR from the sun.
wavelengths (315-400 nm) are the
longest wavelengths, and are only slightly
affected by ozone levels. Most UVA radiation
is able to reach Earth's surface and can contribute
to skin aging, eye damage, and can suppress
the immune system.
of the UV radiation in tanning beds is
UVA, but may be 10 to 15 times more intense
than midday sun.
penetrates the skin more deeply and does
not cause a burn.
does not damage DNA directly like UVB
and UVC, but it can generate highly reactive
chemical intermediates, such as hydroxyl
and oxygen radicals, which in turn damage
wavelengths (280-315 nm) are strongly
affected by ozone levels. Decreases in stratospheric
ozone mean that more UVB radiation can reach
causes burns, snow blindness, immune system
suppression, and a variety of skin problems
including skin cancer and premature aging.
UVB has been recognized for some time
as carcinogenic in experimental animals.
wavelengths (180-280 nm) have the
shortest wavelengths, and are very strongly
affected by ozone levels. Virtually all UVC
radiation is absorbed by ozone, water vapor,
oxygen and carbon dioxide before reaching
lamps do not emit UVC
people with keratosis,
psoriasis, and eczema
are treated with UVB light therapy. This is
typically in the 310 nm to 315 nm
portion of the UVB spectrum. Virtually all
fluorescent tanning lamps have one spectral
peak within this region of the UVB spectrum,
making them an effective tool in mild to moderate
cases. In some circumstances, salon memberships
have been prescribed and more rarely the purchase
of home tanning beds have been prescribed
by doctors and may be covered by insurance
may temporarily help some forms of acne
by drying out the skin, but it is not a solution
that lasts for very long. Further, most prescription
or over the counter acne medications (e.g.
Retin-A), when used in combination with ultraviolet
exposure, may lead to burning or delayed healing
due to photosensitivity
that these drugs (and many others) can create.
light therapy is also used in dermatology.
This is often combined with either an oral
or topical medication called Psoralen.
This combined therapy is referred to as PUVA.
original tanning lamps were discovered by
accident in 1903 by a German company called
Heraeus who were developing
lighting systems for the home and for industrial
usage. These lamps were of the high-pressure
variety. They discovered that the light that
was developed for visible light purposes also
emitted ultra-violet light. In the 1920s and
1930s Heraeus first started to market and
sell single lamp, self standing tanning/wellness
devices. The first high-pressure tanning beds
incorporating more than a single high-pressure
lamp were manufactured in the mid to late
seventies by companies such as Ultrabronz
and JK Ergoline and in the 1980s the first
high-pressure units were exported to the United
States. These units require special filter
glass to remove the UVC and the majority of
the UVB that is emitted and are difficult
to manufacture because the alignment of the
lamps is more critical than in traditional
low-pressure tanning beds. They are generally
large units, with a padded area to lie on
or an acrylic and 6 to 36 lamps in a canopy
or canopy and bench configuration.
beds were brought to the United States by
Wolff in 1979, who patented his particular
blend of phosphors (since expired) and began
licensing the technology to other companies.
Some of the early adopters of the Wolff technology
include ETS, Inc., SCA, Sun Industries, Inc.,
Montego Bay, Sunal. Friedrich Wolff sold Wolff
Systems to his brother Jorg, the founder of
Cosmedico Limited, another pioneer in the
the United States, sunbeds have been regulated
by the Food
and Drug Administration's 21CFR 1040.20,
which was amended in 1986 to include lamp
compliance, warning labels and eye protection.
This regulation was designed primarily to
ensure that all sunbeds sold or used in salons
adhered to a general set of safety rules,
with the primary focus on sunbed and lamp
manufacturers in regards to maximum exposure
times and product equivalence. In addition,
states have the opportunity to extend regulations
for salons themselves, regarding the operator
training, the sanitization of the sunbed and
eyewear, and additional warning signs. For
a comprehensive list of states with indoor
tanning restrictions for minors and their
specific laws, see the National
Conference of State Legislatures.
companies continue to license the Wolff name
and use their lamps because of the name recognition,
although this has steadily diminished over
the years as other lamp builders have created
lamps that are arguably as good as or better
modern tanning beds have not changed much
from the original systems. The lamp technology
and electronics have evolved over the years,
but the basic "low pressure" tanning bed has
not evolved. The original ballast
systems used in the first tanning beds, both
"European choke" and magnetic, are still in
use today although there are now many other
choices including electronic
and high frequency. The lamps are still fluorescent
type, using special phosphors that create
a spectrum in the UVA and UVB range. Mostly
emitting UVA rays. although there has been
a great deal of advancement over the years
to make the light spectrum they emit more
growing trend is the home tanning bed. Many
home tanning with the control of a system
that allows UV by skin type and a timer may
encourage additional sales. The average home
system has 16 to 24 lamps, and costs $2000
to $3000, making its price competitive (over
a number of years) for tanners who frequent
salons regularly. This has led to an explosion
of retailers that feature smaller, home style
tanning beds both on the internet and in traditional
retail stores. are now opting
to own their own tanning system instead of
going to the salon. The primary reasons are
for convenience and privacy. As more states
seek to ban young adults from commercial salons,
trend is spray on tanning (a form of sunless
tanning), using either special booths
or a hand held setup similar to an airbrush.
Many people who try spray on tanning often
still go to the tanning salon, and use the
spray on as a way to jump start the appearance
of a tan, while others use it as a way to
look tan while avoiding UV exposure of any
kind. This is also demonstrated by the large
number of indoor tanning lotions that have
"bronzers" included, which is similar to the
chemicals used for spray on tans, DHA.
Indoor Tanning Association now estimates a
30 million customer base in the U.S.—about
10% of the total US population. 2.3 million
of these customers are teens. 18.1% of women
tan indoors while 6.3% of men tan indoors.
13% of indoor tanners are teens, 20.4% are
young adults (age 18-29), 13% are adults (age
30-64) and 9.8% are older adults (age 65+).
to an essay in The
Daily Telegraph, 58% of people of both
sexes in Liverpool are fake-tanned at all
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