Are Tanning Beds A Good Substitute For The Sun

The benefits of sun bathing and getting  a tan are not new to us. Tanning in direct sunlight has found to help and cure various heart diseases and other  ailments including depression, cancer, stroke, and osteoporosis. The credit goes to vitamin D that is generated by the body after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.

However, time constraints have forced people to take recourse to indoor tanning. Moreover, it has been found that over-exposure to UV rays can cause skin cancer.  

There are a number of advantages of indoor tanning booths. Does the body produce vitamin D when exposed to artificial UV rays from a tanning bed?

Let us the see what the experts have to say.  Sun and artificial tanning beds, which are fitted with ultraviolet  bulbs, produce ultraviolet rays of two types, UVB and UVA. The former has a short wavelength and remains on the surface of the skin, whereas the latter is more penetrative in nature.

The UVB rays activate sources of vitamin D in our body. A  maximum exposure of about 20 minutes is sufficient to produce the required effects. However, over-exposure can cause sunburns. Expert dermatologists therefore, prefer UVA. UVA is responsible for the golden brown tan of the skin.  Salons generate 95% of the UVA Ultraviolet rays for this reason.

The paradox here is that, though UVB rays are credited with generation of Vitamin D, tanning saloons use tanning beds, which generate more of UVA rays. This is because UVA rays give the patron the sought after golden glow.

Moderate use of tanning beds does help the body to produce vitamin D. However, overuse of tanning beds is as dangerous as or probably more dangerous than exposure to sunlight.

All said and done, tanning beds may give you a much sought after tan, but do not help the body to generate Vitamin D. There is no substitute to getting out into the sun. However, in both cases, tanning beds or direct sunlight, moderation is advised.