Especially in winter people pour into the solariums. Because brown skin looks nice and healthy. But behind the beautiful glow hides an enormous protective and repair mechanism of the skin, our largest organ ever. The risk of getting skin cancer increases with each sunbath, because the ultraviolet rays - whether natural or artificial - damage the cells.
The skin - a sensitive organ
At around 1.7 m², it is our largest organ - the skin. And she is vulnerable, especially for rays. 75, 000 Germans develop annual skin cancer. This alarming number is due to information from the German Cancer Aid due to excessive sun exposure.
Because the ultraviolet (UV) rays, which emit both the natural sun and solarium tubes, change the structure of the cells. The genome of the skin cells is particularly damaged by UV-B rays. But the fact is: sunlight needs people, only how much is a vital health factor.
Risk skin cancer
The tan, which looks so healthy, is nothing more than a skin protection reaction. It gets dramatic when a sunburn has developed, from which the skin, on the surface, recovers after some time. Deep inside the skin cells, however, in the cell nuclei where the genetic material sits, damage has occurred, which can be repaired - in the worst case, the cells die out.
The more frequently the skin is exposed to the stress of radiation, the less efficient the cell's own repair service, which also increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
Sunlight from the tube: healthy or unhealthy?
The tubes of the solariums contain only a very small part of the particularly carcinogenic UV-B rays, the tanning effect is achieved mainly by a high UV-A content. This is higher in solariums than in natural sunshine, and as reported by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection as harmful as UV-B radiation.
Proponents of the artificial sun, primarily the manufacturers of solariums, argue with the health benefits of their plants. As positive effects they show that especially in the winter the UV-B-radiation of the solariums promotes the formation of the so important vitamin D. That's right and important, because vitamin D ensures that the calcium is stored in the bones - the protection against osteoporosis. In addition, tanning beds are credited with positive effects on the psyche, on the sex life and a healing effect on skin problems.
The German Cancer Aid, on the other hand, holds that vitamin D is already formed when one walks outside for ten to fifteen minutes a day, and the vitamin can also be absorbed through the diet. The whole body irradiation leads at best to faster skin aging and premature wrinkling.
Tips for sun lovers
The Working Group Dermatological Prevention and the German Cancer Aid advise: Children, people with many liver spots and persons who are very light-skinned and quickly get a sunburn, should do without sunbeds and be extremely careful during the "natural" sunbathing. As I said, the skin cells forget nothing, and every sunburn, from childhood on, is considered a risk factor for skin cancer.
Visits to the solarium should only take place in moderation, more than 50 sunbaths per year are considered too much. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection even goes so far as to say that nobody should expose themselves to UV radiation more than 50 times a year, whether on the beach or on a walk.
If the sunbed must be absolutely, you should definitely protect the eyes with appropriate glasses, do without sunscreen and perfumes - just under the solarium sun can cause skin irritation, and that is an additional stress for the already stressed skin.