Tanning Beds Aren’t the Answer to Winter Depression

February 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

With the dark days of winter in full swing, many people are turning to tanning salons as the solution for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is believed to affect 15 million Americans.

Since UV light is not a treatment for SAD, those affected with this disease are only putting their health at risk for skin cancer by visiting a tanning salon. New high-pressure sunlamps emit as much as 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to the dose received from sun exposure. And people who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.

Most SAD specialists recommend obtaining light via a light box rather than visiting a tanning salon. Light boxes are portable, visible light sources that provide up to 10,000 lux of illumination – 10 to 25 times as bright as ordinary lighting, and equivalent to natural outdoor light about forty minutes after sunrise.

What to Look For in a Light Box

  • Choose a Light Box With 10,000 Lux of Illumination. Light boxes offering fewer lux are not as effective.
  • Use a UV Filter. Most light boxes use fluorescent bulbs, which emit a small amount of UV radiation. Your light box should have a UV filter or diffusing screen to protect your skin and eyes.
  • Opt for Soft, White Lights. Full spectrum lights produce greater amounts of blue light (which can harm the eyes) and UV radiation.

Source: The Skin Cancer Foundation

Entry filed under: Alternative, Managing your health.

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