Sun bathing is not a recent phenomenon, and the use of the sun for health
reasons dates back to prehistoric man who used sun and water for medication.
The Egyptians worshipped the life-giving power of the sun god Ra, the
ancient Greek physician Hypocrates specified the sun as a viable medical
remedy and even assessed the quality of life in ancient Greek cities
according to their favourable position toward the sun.
Romans utilised the benefits of the sun and incorporated it into their
bathing culture, many built solaria on top of their houses.
Clearly, sunbathing is not a recent invention or a passing trend.
Tanning is the skin's natural reaction to exposure to sunlight. Whilst
it can offer health benefits and a feeling of general well being, it
is sensible to exercise caution.
The use of tanning equipment enables us to bask in comfortable warmth
and get a tan, regardless of the season.
Why get a tan?
Getting a tan is no more than the skin's way of protecting you against
the rays from the sun. A recent survey conducted on behalf of the Sunbed
Association showed that there is a strong interest in tanning with around
51% of respondents indicating that they had previously and intended
in the future to get a tan.
Research in Germany found that a vast majority of people found tanning
to be very pleasant and relaxing. Approximately 75% of respondents stated
that they experienced a sense of improved well-being after sunbathing.
There is a well known seasonal disorder, seasonal affective disorder
(SAD), in which sufferers experience mood changes in the dark winter
months. It is very possible that the use of a sunbed can help reduce
this disorder through the production of melatonin.
More than half the group felt energized by the sun and two thirds believed
that the sun strengthened their own resistance to illness.
Artificial tanning at once places itself in a different league from
tanning under the natural sunlight, because the length of exposure time
and the specific proportions of the ultra violet are controlled and
are designed to both maximise tanning and to minimise any dangers of
Sunlight is essential to life. It is a natural phenomenon, which brings
blessings in many ways. It is the most important source of vitamin D3
in man and animals. As Vitamin D controls and regulates metabolism in
so many ways, it is placed in the category of hormones.
In addition to its well-known effects on bone metabolism, Vitamin D
also influences the immune system, the musculature, the glandular and
the nervous system and the epidermis. Solaria, using small proportions
of UVB, can be responsible for aiding production and regulation of vitamin
In the solarium, you have an environment in which you can relax and
enjoy the benefits of the sunshine all year round. Suntanning can make
people feel fitter, happier and healthier.
How the skin tans?
The skin contains special cells (melanocytes) capable of producing melanin
and releasing it as pigment. UVB radiation stimulates these melanocyte
cells to produce more pigment, which is then browned by the UVA rays
as the pigment rises to the skins surface. Your skin darkens when you
tan due to an increase in the production and the oxidization of a compound
called melanin. This helps to protect you from future UV over-exposure.
In this way, a suntan is in part 'protective', but this does not mean
that your skin cannot be hurt by over-exposure to the sun.
The difference between UVA +UVB
Ultraviolet radiation is made up from different components, including
UVA and UVB. The latter radiation variety, a more powerful tanner than
UVA, is known to cause sunburn. A small dose of UVB is essential to
induce the pigment forming cells to start producing melanin. UVB also
increases the thickening of the epidermis (skin). This thickening of
the outer skin, along with pigmentation, offers an excellent protection
against UV rays. UVB radiation is used in the prevention or treatment
of illnesses such as psoriasis, kidney diseases and rickets. The elderly
also suffer from Vitamin D deficiency but due to insufficient exposure