Three products for a radiant, customizable tan — without UV rays

Three products for a radiant, customizable tan — without UV rays

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Risques du bronzage artificiel.

Are Tanning Beds Bad for You? The Dangers of Artificial Tan.

It can be tempting to visit a tanning solarium to get a quick tan. However, these tanning beds are extremely inadvisable and present several risks to the skin, which we list in this article.

Tanning indoors is the equivalent of prolonged unprotected sun exposure.

Now forbidden to underage people, tanning beds or booths are generally the place where indoor tanning is performed. The aim of this method is to activate the skin's production of melanin for a tanned complexion without the sun. However, when you sit in a tanning booth for a 15-minute session, this is equivalent to around 2–3 hours of unprotected sun exposure. The artificial UV rays used in these booths are more intense and energetic than the sun's natural rays. They are therefore more dangerous.

Tanning beds increase the risk of skin cancer.

The light emitted by tanning beds or booths emits more UVA and UVB rays than the sun. While UVB rays remain on the surface of the epidermis and are "only" responsible for sunburn, UVA rays penetrate deeper and reach the dermis, where they stimulate the generation of free radicals. These reactive molecules attack and damage DNA, and can cause genetic mutations and skin cancers.

The risk of developing cutaneous melanoma is the main danger associated with tanning indoors. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified UV cabins as "carcinogenic", and has estimated that exposure to artificial UV rays before the age of 30 increases the risk of developing melanoma by 75%.

A study carried out in 2012 by Santé Publique France concluded that around 4.6% of cases of cutaneous melanoma, or 347 cases a year, were attributable to the use of tanning booths. In addition, the institute estimated that between 19 and 76 of the deaths that occurred that year were attributable to the regular practice of indoor tanning.

Solarium tanning promotes wrinkles and sagging skin.

In the same way, tanning beds accelerates premature skin aging due to the alteration of cells and certain fibrous proteins by free radicals. As a result, wrinkles appear and the skin's surface sags. It should also be noted that the effects of repeated indoor tanning can be more visible and severe than those of sun tanning.

Tanning beds increase the risk of hyperpigmentation.

The intense UV rays emitted by the artificial light of tanning solariums are designed to stimulate melanin synthesis. However, melanin production is not always uniform. Sometimes, clusters of melanin are deposited in certain areas of the dermis or epidermis, resulting in brown spots. Although they don't come into contact with artificial UV rays, they often appear naturally around the age of fifty, highlighting a lifetime of sun exposure. Tanning booths accelerate this process and can lead to the development of brown spots much earlier.

Tanning indoors is particularly risky for some people.

In short, tanning beds concentrate and amplify all the dangers posed by exposure to the sun. While tanning booths are not recommended for everyone, some people are particularly at risk. These are the lightest phototypes, naturally less protected from UV rays.

Biologically, this is due to the low proportion of certain pigments such as melanin, hemoglobin or carotenoids in these people. What's more, the type of melanin they synthesize (pheomelanin) is lighter and less protective. Tanning booths are therefore strongly contraindicated for fair-skinned people.

People with a high number of moles are also advised to avoid tanning indoors. These people are predisposed to developing cutaneous melanoma, and a session in a tanning booth could only exacerbate this already high risk.

Sources

  • HALPERN A. & al. Sunless tanning. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (2004).

  • CRANE J. & al. Skin cancer prevention. Statpearls (2022).

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