THERE ARE PROVEN HEALTH BENEFITS FROM USING UV TANNING EQUIPMENT IN A CONTROLLED, RESPONSIBLE MANNER, THERE ARE ALSO RISKS FROM USING UV TANNING EQUIPMENT WITHOUT PROPER HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS.
As with exposure to natural sunlight, too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning equipment can damage your skin and sometimes your general health.
SHORT-TERM DAMAGING EFFECTS
The short-term damaging effects of excessive exposure to UV radiation include:
- sunburnt skin, which becomes painful, red and may blister and peel;
- skin dryness and itching;
- bumpy itchy rash;
- eye irritation or conjunctivitis, (if suitable goggles are not worn).
LONG-TERM HEALTH RISKS
There may also be long-term health effects including:
- premature ageing of the skin which will then look coarse, leathery and wrinkled;
- skin cancer – the more exposures, the greater the risks;
- increased risk of cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye) later in life, (if suitable goggles are not worn).
Don’t use cosmetic tanning equipment if your skin is particularly sensitive.
Some people are more prone to skin damage caused by UV radiation than others. You are advised not to use cosmetic tanning equipment if:
- you are under 16;
- you have fair sensitive skin that burns easily or tans slowly or poorly;
- you have a history of sunburn, especially in childhood;
- you have a large number of freckles and/or red hair;
- you have a large number of moles;
- you are taking medicines or using creams which may sensitise the skin to sunlight;
- you have a medical condition that is worsened by sunlight;
- you or anyone in your family have had a skin cancer in the past.
- If you have any doubts, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use tanning equipment.
Don’t use cosmetics before tanning. Some cosmetics, deodorants and similar preparations for use on the skin can increase sensitivity to UV radiation.
It is best not to use them immediately before a tanning session and to wash off any that are on the skin, before using the equipment.
As a general guide it is best not to exceed 20 sessions per year; make a note of your number of sessions so you will not forget.
If using a commercial salon, tell the staff about your normal skin reaction to sunlight, bearing in mind that you may be exposing parts of your body not normally exposed to the sun.
The operator of the equipment should then advise you on how long to use it; don’t exceed this time.
Don’t try to get a quick tan by:
- exceeding the recommended times;
- having too many tanning sessions;
- having more than one session a day;
- sunbathing on the same day.
Seek advice about any problems
If you notice any abnormal skin reactions developing during the tanning session, stop the exposure at once and do not use tanning equipment again before consulting a doctor.
If you develop any abnormal skin reaction after a tanning session, do not use such equipment again before consulting a doctor. Seek medical advice if you notice any change in the appearance of a mole.
PROTECT YOUR EYES
Make sure you use the goggles or other eye protection provided, before using the equipment, these should be worn all the time the equipment is switched on.
If no eye protection is used, do not use the equipment.
Understand the equipment
Make sure you know how to:
- Use the equipment properly
- Switch it off
- Call for help in an emergency.
- Don’t rely on your tan for protection
The tan obtained from cosmetic tanning equipment can give some mild protection from
burning when you go into the sun, but it never gives complete protection. Nor does it provide much protection against the long-term health risks mentioned earlier. You should still follow sensible advice on safety in the sun such as that published by the Health Education Authority and cancer charities (eg Cancer Research Campaign, Imperial Cancer Research Fund).
KNOW YOUR SKIN
No matter whether you get your tan from the sun or tanning equipment, you should learn to recognise the early warning signs of serious damage. Most skin cancers are completely curable if detected in the early stages. Look for progressively changing moles or other skin discolorations. If you have any doubts, consult your doctor. Don’t delay!
SOURCES OF USEFUL INFORMATION
Other useful information can be obtained from:
- Health Education Authority, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9TX Tel: 0207 383 3833.
- Cancer Research Campaign, 10 Cambridge Terrace, NW1 4JL Tel: 0207 224 1333.
- Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3PX Tel: 0207 009 8820.
- National Radiological Protection Board, Chilton, Didcot, Oxon OX11 0RQ Tel: 01235 831600.
This information for customers is issued jointly by the Health and Safety Executive and the Department of Health.
Sunlight is energy, which is transferred by means of electro-magnetic rays or waves with different wave lengths. We can differentiate between ultra-violet rays (UV light), visible light, and warm infra-red radiation (IR light).
The UV light is subdivided up into UV-A, UV-B and UV-C rays. The dangerous UV-C rays are filtered out by the atmosphere and do not reach the surface of the earth. The composition and strength of UV-A and UV-B rays varies and depends on the time of day and year, air pollution, degree of latitude North or South, and the intensity of reflection (water, snow etc) for example.
The skin is the largest regulatory and protective organ of our body. Through the skin we not only make physical contact but also sensual contact to our environment.
Whilst in former centuries paleness was considered distinguished, a natural tan is a sign of athleticism, attractiveness and health today. The exterior appearance – the natural outfit – is an expression of personal lifestyle for more and more people.
An attractively tanned skin improves the personality. Irrespective of whether at work or in your free time – you are received better.
Basically, a tan is nothing other than the body’s inherent protection against sunlight. The UV-B rays encourage the cells of the epidermis ( the elanocytes) to produce more white melanin pigments, which, on their way to the upper dermal layer, are tanned by the UV-A rays and the oxygen contained in the blood ( indirect pigmentation ). If a preliminary pigmentation has taken place already, the skin will be tanned immediately by UV-A rays (direct pigmentation)
The pleasant effects of UV rays on the body and soul have been substantiated by medicine. The natural formation of vitamin D3 takes place only in the sun or on a sunbed – or put more precisely – under the influence of UV-B rays. Vitamin D3 is an important hormone for the protection of bone, protecting against osteoporosis. Due to the formation of vitamin D3 calcium is deposited in the bones.
Still further positive properties are attributed to this “sun hormone”. It stimulates the immune system, increases the body’s own physical powers, alleviates depressions and has a positive affect on the heart and circulation
Even skin diseases are treated with UV light with great success, such as acne, psoriasis and neurodermatitis.
Depending on the type of skin, people react differently to sunlight. You should know your type of skin for correct enjoyment of the sun and sunbeds. World-wide, six types of skin are differentiated – the first four types of skin occur most frequently in Europe.
Skin type 1 ( approx 2% of all Central Europeans): remarkably light skin, reddish hair, blue eyes, very strong tendency to develop a sunburn.
Skin type 2 ( approx 12% of all Central Europeans): light skin, blond to medium-brown hair, blue to grey or green eyes, strong tendency to develop sunburn.
Skin type 3 ( approx 78% of all Central Europeans): normal skin, dark-blond to brown hair, grey to brown eyes, moderate tendency to develop a sunburn.
Skin type 4 ( approx 8% of all Central Europeans): light-brown to olive-coloured skin, dark hair and eyes, slight tendency to develop a sunburn.
Even in winter with little sunshine we can provide ourselves with the missing sunshine on a sunbed. Contrary to the natural sun, which is subject to strong variations, tanning on a sunbed can be used precisely and individually.
THE GOLDEN RULES OF TANNING
Do not overdo things, tan sensibly.
This is the most important rule of all, which means that you should sunbathe no more than once a day.
The rule of thumb is a maximum of ten times within a fortnight to three weeks. One to two times a week are sufficient to conserve the tan reached.
In addition, the following tips should be observed.
Tanning in Spring
- prevents spring fatigue.
- builds a skin-inherent light protection
- prepares the skin for summer
Tanning in Summer
- prepares the skin for holidays
- comforts people who have to spend their holiday at home
- produces a nice tan without the heat of summer
Tanning in Autumn
- prolongs summer
- renders healthy and relaxed looks
- makes you fit for winter
Tanning in Winter
- provides rays of hope for a better mood
- improves health
- renders a dynamic, active appearance
By carefully planned preliminary tanning , sun allergies and the so-called Mallorca acne can be avoided.
Keep to the tanning time recommended for your type of skin. The International agreed Standard (Euronorm) recommends no more than 50 sessions per year.
Remove all cosmetics from the skin before tanning, and take off all jewellery.
Do not use any suntan products on a sunbed, except those produced especially for sunbeds.
If you are taking any medicine, please ask your doctor before tanning if it causes any photosensitivity.
Keep your eyes closed during tanning, and always wear protective goggles.
Treat the skin before and after tanning so that a nice tan is conserved longer. For the care of the skin, sunbed cosmetics are especially suitable as they have adapted to the special requirements of the tanned skin.