Tanning Salon Precautions

Tanning bed in a tanning salon
 
Q: Iíll go to a tanning salon for the very first time soon. Any precautions I need to take?
 
A: Yes. The first thing you need to do is learn everything you can about how tanning beds work, and what they do. You need to be aware as well of the specific tanning machines being used, the bulbs involved and the care recommendations associated with them.
 
Most older-model tanning beds simply used UV lamps to expose the skin and stimulate melanin production. There are new models of tanning bed developed that use specifically UVA radiation and even further act to filter out what is considered to be the most harmful levels of UV radiation to give ďthe safest tanning experienceĒ.
 
However, in case you didnít know, UV radiation is broken down into two different types Ė UVA (aging rays) and UVB (burning) rays. The UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburn and should be avoided which is why the makers of tanning beds and machines have created the UVA beds. However, at least some UVB radiation is needed to stimulate melanin production, and therefore tanning results. The UVA rays are the ones that penetrate into the skin and cause the most photo-damage (the breakdown of collagen and elastin). This is what causes sun exposure to lead to premature signs of aging.
 
If you intend to use tanning beds to tan, you need to make sure you know what you are getting into. Make sure to use at least a mild sunscreen to give yourself as much protection from damage as possible. An SPF of at least 15 is a good idea if you canít find out what type of bulbs are employed in the beds you will be using.
 
After tanning, make sure you moisturize the skin thoroughly to prevent dryness and help the skin cope as much as possible with the radiation exposure.
 
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Photo: Spfotocz/Shutterstock
 
See also:
 
How tanning works
 
Do tanning beds prevent burning in the real sun?