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  • The Dark Side of Indoor Tanning

  • In American culture, a great looking tan is believed to be the sign of beauty and health. To coincide with fast paced American culture, tanning salons seem to be the perfect and convenient solution to achieving a great looking tan all year long.

    Contrary to popular belief, a tan is the skin's reaction to sun damage and when exposed to UVA and UVB rays, the skin produces pigment called melanin to protect itself from burning. Before you head indoors to achieve an outdoors look, find out why this may not be the healthiest alternative.

    • Limit your Exposure. Indoor tanning can be just as harmful to your skin as tanning outside. According to The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 1 million people visit tanning salons daily. What the public may not know, is tanning devices produce UV rays that are just as, if not more powerful than the sun. Overexposure to these rays can cause eye injury, premature wrinkling of the skin, skin rashes and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
    • Look at Your Medications. In combination with UV rays, some medications like antibiotics, birth control pills, cosmetics and soaps can accelerate sunburns and produce other reactions, such as rashes. It is also important to understand that tanning devices may also induce light-sensitive injuries like cold sores. Symptoms of certain medical conditions and autoimmune diseases can be aggravated by the use of tanning devices. It is important to consult your physician before you use a tanning device.
    • Always Use Protective Goggles. According to the FDA, all tanning salons are required to distribute safety goggles to their customers. According to the American Optometric Association, studies have shown that long-term exposure to UV light can result in eye damage to the cornea and retina. Repeated UV exposure without protective goggles can change the structure of the lens causing cloudiness and cataracts. Closing your eyes, or wearing ordinary sunglasses does not protect the eyes from concentrated UV exposure found in tanning devices. Make sure your protective goggles fit snug around your face and are sterilized properly to prevent the spread of eye infections.

    Try a healthy alternative:The benefits of sunless tanning