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Benefits & Risks

Firstly, we decided to include this section within our site because we believe people should make informed, educated lifestyle choices. Thus, our intention is to increase awareness of both benefits and risks.

Secondly, we are a sun care provider, and accept critics/cynics will be quick to point out our bias. For this reason, we encourage readers to visit sites that present the risks and benefits, not just one position which is how most articles are written. We recommend the US National Library of Medicine / National Institute of Health. Please understand, we are not trying to present ourselves as an authority of the subject by presenting this section, but merely presenting both view points and allowing our readers to make their own decisions.

The media generally focuses on headlines, which is where many readers usually stop. Consequently, tanning is often mistakenly compared with smoking. We believe this is both unfortunate and unfair. Unlike smoking, tanning has some proven health benefits while providing no second-hand risks to non-tanners. A fairer comparison should be made with wine, which also has both risks and benefits.

The key is MODERATION. Just like with wine, a little is ok, but too much presents more risk than benefit.

Risk:  Skin Cancer

The number one concern associated with UV exposure is usually skin cancer. Members often ask if our machines are ‘safe’ or can cause ‘skin cancer’. Of course, the risks associated with indoor UV exposure should be considered the same as the risks associated with outdoor exposure.

However, popular media often suggest indoor tanning to be more dangerous than outdoor tanning by citing studies that demonstrate people who tan indoors are more likely to experience skin cancer than those who don’t. Unfortunately, people willing to pay for indoor tanning normally expose themselves to significantly more UV over time. This only proves what we already know; the more we expose ourselves to energy/radiation over time, the more likely we are to get various forms of cancer. What is yet to be demonstrated in any studies is that people who substitute equal amounts of indoor tanning for outdoor tanning are at more risk.

To be able to claim indoor tanning to be more dangerous than outdoor tanning would require demonstrating that individuals exposed only to indoor tanning were at higher risk to skin cancer than individuals exposed only to outdoor tanning at similar/identical levels of exposure. Presently, we have found no such study.

For clarity, even though we provide indoor tanning, we agree that increasing exposure to UV over time can increase the possibility of skin cancer. Hence, we recommend moderation so people might enjoy the benefits while minimizing the risks.

Benefit:  Vitamin D3

How important is Vitamin D3? Well, it is the only nutrient we know of the skin creates in reaction to sunlight, even without eating. The process is similar to how plants turn sunlight into nutrients. Thus, from an evolutionary perspective, it would be reasonable to conclude we were meant to have at least some UV exposure on a regular basis.

Maintaining adequate vitamin D3 levels can help reduce risks of several types of cancer, heart disease, and bone disease. In fact, in the last several years a number of different health authorities have increased recommended daily allowances.

So, we know D3 is important, but it also turns out humans evolved to be able to process D3 from sunlight because it is very difficult to get sufficient quantities from diet alone. Made all the more difficult thanks to the declining rates of nutritional daily intake. It is also true vitamin D3 can be supplemented through D3 pills, thus avoiding the need for exposure to UV/sunlight. We encourage individuals with family histories of skin cancer to take this approach. However, the amount of UV exposure required to maintain moderate levels of vitamin D3 would still leave most individuals with only a hint of colour, thereby not presenting significant risks to the average population.

Benefit:  Skin Conditions

Exposure to UV can improve conditions related to psoriasis, eczema and acne. Most people can see benefits with only moderate amounts of UV exposure. In most cases, only moderate UV exposure is sufficient, thereby resulting in only a hint of colour. Alternatively, topical agents and/or anti-biotics could also be used, but these methods also present health risks, just like tanning.

Risk:  Premature Skin Aging

Even though we are in the indoor tanning industry, we cannot deny UV exposure causes premature aging of the skin. Unfortunately, there is no honest way around this. However, we also believe the risks need to be weighed against the benefits as listed above. The key in our opinion is moderation.

Benefit:  SAD / Mood

It only takes a few dark, cloudy, rainy days for most people to feel the effects of sunlight deprivation. Feelings of fatigue, lethargy and even depression in extreme cases can result. Exposure to UV, even in small doses helps greatly alleviate this problem. At the risk of repeating ourselves, the quantity needed is usually only enough to provide a hint of colour.

Risk:  Sunburn

OK, the obvious. Don’t stay in the sun too long. You will get erythema, commonly known as a sun burn. Outdoor UV levels are very unpredictable, fluctuating by season, cloud-cover, pollution, altitude, geography, and of course time of day. Indoor tanning levels are far more certain, but still vary from service providers, as well as different equipment within the same service provider. Generally speaking, you should be far less likely to get a sunburn indoor tanning.

Benefit:  Looking ‘Healthier’

Very, very subjective, we admit. However, studies reveal many people associate tanned skin with the healthy glow people get from a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Tanned skin, however, is not quite the same, not appearing quite as bright. Although a tan does help mask the grey appearance associated with poor diet, fatigue and stress, it is not a replacement.

Other people do associate a sun tan with a holiday. Of course, your tan will look the same as a holiday tan, without the selfies by the pool.

Benefit:  Looking more ‘Toned’

If the number of body building and bikini-fit competitors we see in our studio before competitions are any indicator, your hard work in the gym and sacrifices made in your diet will be that much more obvious with a bit of colour. Somehow extremely fair skin tends to look a less toned. I know, subjective. We admit it.