Could Your Sun-Kissed Glow Be Riskier Than You Thought?

One in three Americans are unknowingly addicted to an indoor activity that researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have linked to thousands of cancer cases. The harmful activity is none other than the use of tanning booths. These booths expose the skin to two types of ultraviolet (UV) light, UVA and UVB. Both can lead to skin aging and potential damage. However, only UVB can stimulate skin to produce vitamin D. On average, tanning booths expose the user to 12 times more UVA radiation than beneficial UVB.

Instead, getting a moderate amount of natural sunlight to induce vitamin D production in the body is a much better option than lying in a tanning bed. But, it’s important to note that excessive exposure to natural sunlight is also harmful.

The Texas study found that frequent tanning booth users may experience changes in brain chemistry, making it difficult for them to cease using tanning beds. The rewarding effects of tanning beds on the brain may result in users feeling compelled to continue the behavior even if it’s not beneficial to their health. This leads experts to question if tanning bed usage can potentially be addictive.

Other research reveals that frequent lifetime usage of tanning booths can increase the risk of skin cancer by a factor of eight. With this in mind, it is better to opt for natural sunlight instead of artificial UV light. However, natural sunlight is not without its own risks.

Although sunlight exposure is essential to promote vitamin D production within the body, it’s important to avoid overexposure. Sunburns should be avoided, and it’s essential to cover up before the sun can damage the skin. Relying on sunscreens is not always the best option, as many sunscreens have questionable ingredients and can cause hormone disruptions on the skin. Additionally, sunscreens with high sun protection factors (SPF) can provide a false sense of security, leading people to believe it is safe to have unlimited sun exposure.

Moreover, no study has ever proven that sunscreens prevent skin cancer, and a synthetic derivative of vitamin A that can be found in many sunscreens may even increase the risk of skin cancer.

It’s also crucial to address potential vitamin D deficiencies. If you have minimal unprotected sun exposure or live in an area with low sunlight levels, you might need to consider vitamin D supplements.

So, this summer, make sure to enjoy the sun and boost your body’s level of vitamin D, but always be cautious of overexposure. The key is moderation and taking care of your skin. Remember that sun damage is cumulative, meaning it can build up over time. By following these guidelines, you can safely enjoy sunlight’s benefits without risking your health.