The benefits of artificial tanning are generally related to enjoyment, speed and the production of vitamin D.
It is suggested[by whom?] that tanning makes some people feel temporary self-satisfaction. To understand how this happens, researchers set out to determine if endorphin levels were increased after tanning. They concluded that there were no significant differences in the mean plasma levels of β-endorphin between people who were exposed to tanning beds and those who were not. The positive psychological benefits of tanning may be due to factors other than endorphins.
While a tan that is developed in a tanning bed does offer some protection from overexposure to the natural sun, an individual should not depend on it as their only protection. A tan provides a natural SPF of between 2 and 4 (sun protective lotions are generally SPF 30 or higher). Depending on the intensity of the sun outside, it may be advisable to use additional lotion with SPF even if a base tan is present.
A more controversial benefit of tanning indoors rather than tanning outside is the amount of control the tanner has. If a person decides to get a suntan and wants to minimize the risk of getting a sunburn, a tanning bed offers an environment that delivers the same amount of UV in a given period of time, day after day. In contrast, the amount of UV that reaches the ground can vary from minute to minute and the longer tanning times results in deeper exposure. This doesn’t make the tan in a tanning bed safer per se, but it can reduce the chance of a sunburn as it allows total control over the amount of exposure a person receives.
Tanning beds also offer time savings when compared to tanning outdoors. Most tanning beds offer a maximum session time of 20 minutes and a person can maintain a tan with 1 to 2 sessions per week. For individuals living in urban areas, or who work extended hours, a tanning bed may be the only opportunity for tanning or UV exposure of any kind.
A frequently mentioned benefit of artificial tanning is the increased production of vitamin D. Your body can produce up to 10,000 IUs of vitamin D in 10 minutes, as it can with exposure to natural sunlight. This vitamin has many benefits, and many people with indoor lifestyles may not receive enough. Most tanning beds use bulbs with the same UVB relative to UVA rays as the Sun and produce the same levels of vitamin D. High pressure tanning equipment, however, has a much lower ratio of UVB to UVA, and is much less effective for this purpose.
Indoor tanning beds may or may not be useful for the treatment of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It is plausible that the benefit that many SAD patients experience are more due to tanning causing them to feel good in general, rather than treating the SAD itself.
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