Solarium Risks

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Solarium Risks
Solarium Risks
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Video: How Safe are Tanning Beds? 2023, February

Health risks from tanning in tanning beds

"Sunbaths" in solariums are used for cosmetic purposes. They are supposed to give the skin a beautiful, long-lasting tan. That should make it attractive and sexy, at least promises advertising messages. However, like natural UV rays from the sun, artificial UV rays pose a considerable risk to the largest human organ, the skin. If you still want to consciously take this risk, follow the precautionary measures and avoid overdosing.


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  • Limited pre-tanning effect
  • How sun damage occurs
  • Skin cancer and solariums

Limited pre-tanning effect

People with skin types I to III, that is more than 90 percent of all Central Europeans, achieve very little additional light protection by pre-tanning in the solarium. However, this somewhat increased self-protection is not sufficient to be effectively protected against sunburn, for example on vacation.

How sun damage occurs

If the skin gets too much sun, this can lead to reddening of the skin, swelling, itching, pain and burn blisters. The high-energy UV rays can damage the DNA, which is the genetic information of the cells. This damage to the skin is greater the longer the UV radiation acts or the higher the dose.

Too much UV radiation also leads to the formation of non-functional collagen fibers - an essential part of connective tissue. As a result, the skin loses its elasticity, becomes thinner and ages faster. At the same time, light or dark discolored pigment disorders can also occur.

Another disease caused by UV rays is "sun allergy". It can have different causes and should not be confused with Mallorca acne, which is also known as a sun allergy. This occurs in people who are sensitive to UV rays and manifests itself in a skin reaction with redness, itching and blistering. Inflammatory reactions in the form of poplars and pustules are also possible. Mallorca acne is usually associated with an immune deficiency and occurs in combination with sunscreen.

Another possible cause of allergies is photoallergic dermatitis. It can be triggered by certain drugs, e.g. antibiotics, by cosmetics, sunscreens or by fragrances in combination with UVA radiation. Dry, oozing, rarely bleeding blisters are the result. For more information on skin damage caused by UV radiation, see the article Too Much Sun.

Skin cancer and solariums

Both UVA and UVB rays can permanently damage skin cells and promote the development of skin cancer. For example, they are considered to be a cause of "light" skin cancer (actinic keratosis), squamous cell carcinoma or the most malignant form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma. The repair mechanisms of the skin fail, especially with repeated sunburns, and the affected cells can degenerate. Frequent sunburns in childhood and adolescence significantly increase the risk of skin cancer.

UV radiation devices were classified as carcinogenic in 2009 by the IARC, the cancer research agency of the WHO (World Health Organization). The IARC relied on an analysis of 20 scientific studies. The results show a significantly higher risk of cancer in people who started tanning in solariums before the age of 30.

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