For many people, sunbeds are a pre-holiday essential. Not only do they ensure that holidaymakers can begin their getaway with a healthy holiday glow, but they also help to build a base tan that prepares the skin for the sun, reducing the risk of burning and forming a foundation colour that can become deeper and darker during the holiday.
However, tanning beds aren’t just useful in the run up to a summer getaway. In fact, they can actually bring some pretty notable health benefits when used year round.
Are Sunbeds Good for Health?
Is the sun good for health? The obvious answer is no; that exposure to UV rays can damage skin and cause cancer. Yet humans could not live without the sun, and one of the primary reasons why is that the sun is a critical source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy body, and there is an increased prevalence of conditions such as dancer, diabetes, and rickets in Arctic communities which receive very little sunlight over winter months, believed to be linked to Vitamin D deficiency.
According to the NHS, UVB radiation is the best way to boost Vitamin D levels. But of course, the sun is not the only way to be exposed to UVB; UVB sunbeds are another option. And research shows that UVB sunbeds can produce Vitamin D in humans.
The Benefits of Regular Tanning
There are a number of benefits that come with boosting Vitamin D levels, including:
- Improved Bone Health
The Royal Osteoporosis Society reports that Vitamin D can help the body to better absorb and use calcium, which is essential for building strong and healthy bones.
- Boost Immune System
- Cancer Protection
Ironically, while it’s often said that tanning can cause cancer, it may help to prevent it, too. Research shows overall cancer risk is 22% less in those with high Vitamin D levels.
- Heart Health
Vitamin D deficiency is closely linked with high blood pressure. Furthermore, some studies have found that increasing Vitamin D levels can help regulate blood pressure.
While regular tanning certainly has its benefits, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Regular exposure to UVB radiation is important for health, but overdoing it can also increase the risk of developing certain diseases. All tanners should be advised to stick to short regular sunned sessions, with length determined by skin type. In many cases, sunbed sessions should be limited to 10 minutes, even for the darkest skin.
Sunbeds can be combined with other ways to increase Vitamin D, like supplements. The NHS advises adults to take 10 micrograms (400 IU) per day, especially between the cooler months of October and March when there are fewer hours of natural daylight.