We received a question from Karin Riley in Baltimore on how much a great tanning bed model could cost as she is interested in purchasing her own bed for home tanning. “I want to get rid of tanning bed saloons’ fees and have a more controlled session, knowing exactly what I’m using, for how long and how safe it is since we never know for sure how tanning beds in saloons work.” she said.
Well Karin, we share your concern and that’s why we decided to compile a comprehensive guide on tanning beds costs and everything in between to ensure you know what you are submitting yourself to.
But to get started, we have to point the basics here that, purchasing a tanning bed is a serious investment because these machines are expensive, require maintenance, electrical implementation and specific wiring, and most of them do not have the best warranty you would need – but the best models do. So let’s move on how these machines work and what makes them so expensive to set them as a delicate financial investment.
How Tanning Beds Work?
It is simplistic, but tanning beds are artificial sunlight, simply put. On the other hand, as they are artificial, they include some of the sunlight rays but not all them, and the amount of these specific ray lights is also different from the sun depending on the lamps the bed is implementing. But tanning beds serve the general purpose, of course, of getting a tan in a controlled ambient. To understand how we get a tan from the these beds we need to know what in the sunlight prompts the skin to get tanned.
Ultraviolet Ray Lights: There are two basic types or ray lights in the sun that are responsible for tanning. The UVA ray and the UVB, specially the first one. But both ray spectrum work like a combo in a gradual process to produce a tan. To understand how they work we also need to know how the skin responds to them, since tanning is all about chemical processes in our skin.
The UVB ray is a spectrum of light that has low penetration in the skin but is responsible for triggering defenses, while the UVA penetrates deeper but is the responsible for the pigmentation of the skin in this battle. It is the UVB that triggers the skin in the first place to defend itself from the aggression of the sun, so the so-called melanocytes cells of our skin release the melanin, the substance that protects our body from the radiation of the sun and also what produces the tanning pigmentation. This pigmentation is the result of the melanin reacting to the UVA ray that is working in the surface of the skin. It is oxidized by the UVA and then gets brown.
Once it is oxidized, the melanin is useless for protection, triggering the melanocytes to produce more melanin, and the cycles goes on, darkening the skin more and more. The melanin actually has a F3 efficiency to defend your body against the UV rays, which is very low – ideal sunblocks are F30 – and this potential is reduced to nothing upon oxidation. That’s why despite this natural defense, we need to use artificial sunblocks when exposed to the sun daily, regardless of the color of your skin or ethnicity.
The tanning bed lamps emit specifically these two spectrum of UV rays from the sun, and this is how the process can happen indoors. The industry created specifically the RUVA lamps, that are like spotlight lamps to concentrate the amount of ray light emission and trigger substantial tanning reactions, otherwise the light spreads and the process would take much longer than exposition to natural sunlight.
Timed Sessions: All tanning beds include an inner timer that regulates the amount of exposition to the UV ray lights. They cannot pass the 20 minutes time rate under the regulation of the industry, to avoid sunburn. Each tanning bed though has its own recommendations of how many sessions you should take within a given period. Machines that work with stronger emission of UV rays will recommend only one session every two weeks, others will recommend one week, while others can work for more than one session a week because they are less aggressive (but take longer as well to give you tan). Saloon tanning beds are often the stronger type for faster results.
Electrical Implementation: Indoor tanning beds may require a specific wiring according to their nominal voltage. Systems that work with a 110V circuit can be plugged and unplugged freely, allowing the machine to be transported throughout rooms inside a house, but 220V are adapted systems, and they require a fixed spot to work, which demands the specialized work of an electrician skilled on this kind of installation.
What are the types of tanning bed in the market today ?
There is basically commercial systems and home systems, even though our guide covers specifically home systems. The differences between these systems are somehow subtle and controversial, because the commercial kind is up to a health debate on the provided exposition to UV rays and they are often much more expensive. That’s why we focused on the home tanning beds, but we will later talk a bit more about the safety on the home beds as they are not simply totally free from health risks.
Commercial systems: They are stronger builds, working to provide more heat and power, something sold by tanning salons as “faster results” sessions for sale. To provide this bigger amount of heat, these systems make use of magnetic ballast circuits , heavy devices that can provide the amount of energy these beds demand. The whole construction of these tanning beds is heavier and sturdier as they are supposed to be placed fixed in a specific spot, and this strong build also ensures they can handle different body weight numbers and go on more resistant to heat damage throughout the years. These systems often comprise a net of lamps that is over 24 lamps.
Home Tanning Bed Systems: These beds have a light-weight build and a low-heat generating electronic ballast compared to commercial beds. This build is specific to make it more accessible for transportation and assembling inside the house. These system often implement a set of lamps that are more intensive in UV light emissions, something else up to health concern which we will see further in a while. Home tanning beds do not surpass the 24 lamps rate because they are simpler mechanisms. The more lamps a tanning bed comprises, more power, infrastructure and maintenance the machine will require.
How we did our research?
To get to reliable prices and products, we didn’t actually had to struggle too much because there is a basic concern about tanning beds that make them products less accessible for free production and capitalization. The U S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a strict regulation on the production of these beds and its respective lamps so, there is not that much free competition in the market because it is expensive for most companies to meet the demands of the FDA, with testings, regulation and limitation of given results of these artificial tanning machines.
There is basically 5 companies that have a solid production in the United States, and we analyzed reviews of customers both on the quality of results, maintenance, assembling and side-effects. For side effects here we consider strictly the quality of the exposure to UV rays during sessions without causing burnings during regular sessions. Basically this combo of features is important to determine the effectiveness of the machine within a minimum threshold of safety because burnings is the least side effect you want after a single tanning session. The reviews we took under assessment were all from customers who reported a solid before and after result where they got a successful and lasting tanning rather than reviews of a few weeks use.
Why you should trust us?
One of the most important things about the use of tanning beds is the fact they impose hazardous effects for your health, and this is the first and foremost issue that we are going to cover here largely and the reason why you can trust us on what we are referring to you in terms of products, quality and safety. Rather than masquerading the reality on artificial tanning, we are going to be frank with you on the side effects here because there is a reason behind why FDA regulates the manufacturing of these products: tanning beds emit UV rays, which are radioactive, and there are no safe levels of exposition to radiation. It causes cancer and is harming to human life. That’s why the same administration that regulates and warns about the use of tobacco, alcohol and other narcotic substances regulates as well tanning beds. It is that serious.
Are tanning beds dangerous?
There is no simple answer to this question, but in a nut shell, yes, they are. In the same way that exposition to the sun light without the use of sunblocking is dangerous and harming to human life, so it is an artificial emission of UV rays. The problem about tanning beds is the fact you cannot wear a sunblock, otherwise you won’t get a tan, and behavioral aspects influence on the danger of exposition to the artificial UV ray light here because people will make use of tanning bed as long as they need to get the tan they wish.
Tanning beds are made to produce tanning results, obviously, and they are designed to provide it with effectiveness, enhancing the strength of UV rays emitted. Saloon tanning beds often implement system with several lamps and strong performance, resulting in solid tanning results, but a much higher exposition to UV rays than you would face sunbathing.
Here we can understand tanning beds as smoking. The FDA cannot regulate how often you purchase cigarettes and how often you smoke, it can just warn you on the risks. Likewise, they cannot regulate how many times you want to submit yourself to tanning sessions. When people have their own tanning bed or are willing to pay for several tanning sessions, they simply will stick to the their goal to get the tan they need, and people are not barred from making use of it as much they need, ignoring as well safety warnings.
How I should use tanning beds?
20-MInute Sessions: What FDA can regulate about tanning beds is the minimum exposure to UV rays, in the same way it can regulate the amount of nicotine a cigarette provides or alcohol gradations in drinks. That said, all products we included here meet the requirements of FDA for the amount of exposure to UV rays, which is called eurythmic dosage.
This is the amount of exposition to a RUVA lamp required to produce a pre-burning state in the skin, a slightly pinky coloration after exposition to UV rays. All regulated lamps and machines are designed to work under a 20 minutes time frame before they reach this state, so they will include 20 or 15-minute timers, and the first thing you have to do when using tanning beds is to not ignore this limit.
Sessions that work under this time frame prevent the skin from burning due to exposition to radiation. Sun burning is highly linked to an increased chance to develop melanoma , the skin cancer, so a tanning session should not at any costs provide a burning state to avoid that risk, stopping the exposition in a much previous state to burning.
You should take a read on this report from the Skin Cancer Foundation on statistics about the incidence and increase on skin cancer and take the warning seriously.
Tanning Lamps: Stick to the use of tanning lamps that provide the same amount of UVA and UVB rays. There are suspicious and deceitful brands that make all sort of pseudo-science claims to say that one kind of ray provides one specific tanning coloration and this is all a lie. Only UVA can provide tanning and regardless of the amount of exposition, nuances of color are all related to your genetics and not to the emission of UV rays. They are not coloring crayons, they don’t provide any specific color, and only UVA can provide any pigmentation. Some deceitful brands even produce lamps with more UVB rays- the most dangerous- claiming they provide a more reddish outlook – that is probably because you will suffer from skin burn!
Eye-protection: Most tanning beds include as an essential accessory the eye-goggles UV-ray-proof. They work like sunglasses with UV ray filters and are really important to be used while you are tanning. The eyes are much more susceptible to radiation and just closing your eyes will not help here.
What are the Best Tanning Bed Brands?
The most reliable and effective tanning bed brand has been Wolff for quite a while already because they are the brand that sticks the best to FDA regulation and provides the best quality products, including the long lifespan lamps. Wolff is such a reference that many other brands make use of their lamps while they have their own design for the bed.
Along Wolff, Solar Wave and Solar Storm are other two reliable and famous brands that offer several different models of tanning beds, both for commercial and home use. They also provide more variability when it comes to electric systems. Many of their models make use of Wolff lamps.
Best Tanning Beds Comparison Chart
|Solar Wave||24||20||110V||76" x 32" x 48"||Lifetime|
|28-2F Wolff Tanning Bed||28||20||220 Volt||87.75" x 35" x 48"||18 Months|
|Solar Storm||32||15-20||220 Volt||78"x34"48''||Lifetime Frame|
|Wolff™ SunLite||16||20||110 V||81" x 36" x 48"||12 Months
|Wolf™ Solar Storm||32||15-20||110V||83" x 39" X 48"||3-Year Powertrain Warranty|
Here we compiled some final considerations for you when it comes to coping with the use of tanning beds. Since their use is harming to skin, there are some tips you can take, just like if you were sunbathing, to improve the experience and the results
Hydration: The exposition to UV rays doesn’t need to burn your skin to damage it. Tanning is a process that comprises oxidative reactions, which increases aging, not to mention the fact the radiation can bombard and kill many cells and damage the DNA of many others. But apart from all these inner, not so visible damages, you will promptly note dehydration as a blatant side effect. Just like when you sunbathe and your skin gets drier, after a tanning bed session you will see the same effect. Indulge your skin with hydrant creams and lotions. Is important here to use hydrants and not moisturizers. The latter has less nutrients and chemicals to regenerate your skin while hydrants supply not only water but minerals and compensating chemical compounds to treat any hashes and minor burns from the exposition to UV ray.
Preparation: Is important to keep a healthy lifestyle when it comes to your skin to submit yourself to UV ray exposition. Indulge in a diet rich in A vitamin as it regenerates and strengthen the skin, while it helps as well to keep your production of melanin in check. Unfortunately there is nothing you can eat that will enhance and overproduce melanin since it is just released as a defense when in contact with UVB rays, but if your diet is poor in A vitamin, your skin can and surely will underproduce melanin, which can be a terrible scenario, as you will not get any tan and possibly endure unexpected sunburns with few exposition.
Treatment: If you care enough about the look of your skin for the tanning, you should care as well for everything else, from appearance, health and elasticity. Tanning is one of the best ways to make you look much older than you really are, so while you get a great color, you should as well care for keeping the surface as pretty as the color. The LED light therapy has been proven to have some benefits for the skin and many dermatologists are implementing it to heal and reduce aging. The pink and red spectrums specifically are recommended here to boost collagen production and heal damage to cells.
Professional Care: For last, visit often a dermatologist, tell the professional your tanning routines and keep checking how is your skin going. Melanoma cancer can be easily treated when it is discovered in early stages, which can be very difficult to detect as they show up as subtle spots. Visiting a dermatologist every month is the help you need to be sure that you won’t miss suspicious spots as the doctor is skilled to know that. Note thought that one of the most traditional procedures to treat melanoma is surgery, which can be disfiguring when the spot is in your face, so think a lot about your routines with tanning beds and how often you expose yourself to UV ray damage.
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