Tanning Beds vs. Sun Tanning

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Difference between Tanning Beds and Sun Tanning

In spite of the well-publicized danger of tanning and seemingly everything that goes with it, there is no shortage of people who are willing to take a risk for a gleaming, golden tan. Tanning by going to the beach remains a perennially popular choice, but more and more people are turning to tanning beds instead for the convenience that they offer. There is more than one way to tan a back however, and here we take a look at the factors that go into deciding over one or the other.

Tanning Beds
Sun Tanning


One thing that you have to realize is that both tanning beds and sun tanning expose you to UVB and UVA rays. The main difference is that the newer model tanning beds put out a lot less UVB rays than the sun. This is a particularly important consideration, since UVB rays have been conclusively linked to radiation damage that can cause skin cancer and a host of other skin conditions.

Advantages And Disadvantages

One of the main advantages of tanning beds is that aside from putting out less UVB rays, they also allow the user to regulate how much UVB versus UVA they are getting. This is why there is less chance of you burning under a tanning bed than under the sun. Tanning beds also offer the distinct advantage of being available at any time of the day or night, and any month of the year for that matter. Depending on where in the world you are, you may not even have enough sunlight to tan at all during certain months of the year. On the other hand, sun tanning does offer the benefit of helping you produce more melanin, which is a pigment that can offer added protection from harmful UV rays. In addition, sunlight also encourages the synthesis of vitamin D in your body.

Risk Of Skin Damage

The fact of the matter is that both tanning beds and sun tanning open you up to the same risk of sun damage to your skin, and everything that goes along with it. In fact, some would say that there is an even greater risk of skin damage with tanning beds, since the ubiquity and seeming innocuousness of the whole tanning salon culture is more likely to cause people to take risks.


Tanning Beds

  • Newer models emit much less UVB rays than the sun
  • May be able to reduce the risk of UVB and UVA rays depending on usage
  • Allows regulation of the balance between UVA and UVB rays
  • Can be quite expensive
  • Allows tanning at all times and all weather conditions
  • Easy and convenient

Sun Tanning

  • Generally provides more exposure to UVB rays
  • Doesn't allow for the regulation of UVB- and UVA-ray balance
  • Helps the skin produce melanin naturally, which can result in more protection from UV rays
  • Stimulates vitamin D production

Which one is more dangerous?
  • Tanning Beds
  • Sun Tanning

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