There’s a lot of confusion among those who are pregnant regarding the safety of getting a tan. Even in the absence of a fetus, experts continue to disagree about the risks – real or imagined – of exposing the body to ultraviolet light. Given the glut of misinformation, it’s understandable that women who are carrying a child might have reservations about tanning beds. Today, I’m going to clarify some of the existing misperceptions. It’s only by exposing the falsehoods that you can make an informed decision regarding what is best for you and your unborn child.
In this article, we’ll explore a few reasons why you might want to tan your skin. I’ll explain the basics of UV light along with the effects they can have over time. I’ll also describe some of the precautions you should take when using tanning beds.
Reasons To Tan While Pregnant
It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to feel unattractive. Their bodies are changing, expanding as their baby’s due date draws closer. Often, giving their skin a golden brown or bronze tan can lift their spirits and provide a boost to their self-esteem.
Other reasons are health-related. Researchers discovered long ago that UVB rays from the sun were instrumental in the synthesis of vitamin D. This vitamin is important; it encourages the absorption of calcium, prevents diabetes, and can even defend against gum disease. Some studies have suggested that vitamin D can also help curb heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.
The sun remains a constant source of UVB rays. However, because managing exposure levels can be challenging, many pregnant women prefer the convenience of home tanning beds. That begs the question, “Isn’t UV radiation harmful to a fetus?”
Understanding The Effects of UV Light
Much of the concern that surrounds the use of tanning beds during pregnancy focuses on the radiation that such systems emit. In effect, many people believe that exposure to UV radiation will harm an unborn child. It’s important to realize that there are many different types of radiation, each with varying levels of intensity and impact. Computers emit radiation; so do cell phones, smoke detectors, magazines, and even bananas. And of course, UV light is another source.
There are no studies unequivocally substantiating that radiation from UV light poses harm to a fetus. In particular, ultraviolet rays that are produced by tanning beds do not penetrate deeply enough. That said, overexposure does pose a potential risk in the same way that basking for several hours under intense sunlight does.
Precautions To Consider
People who tan regularly are concerned with safety regarding skin health, cancer, and sunburns. Tanning beds can be a safe means of tanning since the environment can be controlled by an experienced tanning salon professional. Also, you have the option of adjusting the strength of the UV rays and a lot of the times they will give you samples of various tanning lotions that can enhance your tan while protecting your particular kind of skin. If you are pregnant, and you still want to tan then, you may want to consider spray tan if you are concerned with the safety of the exposure to UV rays.
If you are planning to tan on your own at home and will not have a tanning salon to control the tanning environment, then you may want to reference the-the skin chart created by the United States Food and Drug Administration. This chart helps you determine your skin type, if you should tan, for how long, and much more. The most sensitive skin type is type I and this skin type rarely tans, most exposure to the sun will burn the skin. People with skin type VI will never burn any matter how long they are in the sun they always tan. It is important to figure out your skin type to make sure the exposure you receive is safe.
It is recommended to wear sunscreen or tanning lotion even if you are trying to tan it’s important to protect your skin from burning. Most tanning lotions protect your skin while enhancing the tan. The best way to get a tan without any streaks is to exfoliate your skin regularly. You will want to do this by scrubbing off dead skin all over your body using a body scrub. Make sure to pay more attention to areas around joints where there tends to be a lot of dead skin. This will help even out your skin layers so the tan you get will be a bronze color all throughout your body.
Pregnant women need to take a few steps to ensure their bodies are prepared for exposure to UV light. Hydration is critical – especially so during the first trimester. Using tanning bed lotion and limiting your exposure to UV light – far easier with tanning beds than direct sunlight – is also important. Most experts agree that spending too much time under the lamps can lead to overheating of the body, which can potentially harm an unborn child. So, watch the amount of time you’re spending.
To make an informed decision about getting a tan while pregnant, we first needed to dispel some of the common myths surrounding it. Exposure to the UV light does pose a potential risk to a fetus, but only in cases of overexposure. And even then, the risk is identical to that posed by direct sunlight. The key is to take a few precautions, such as keeping hydrated and limiting the amount of time spent under the lamps. You can enjoy a gorgeous tan without concern about your unborn baby’s health.
Although there has been little research on the safety of tanning during pregnancy – it is important that expectant mothers understand the potential risks of doing so. Some salons go as far as requiring a letter from a health professional before allowing the pregnant mother to tan; others limit the exposure of the expectant mother in the tanning bed.
Regardless, the waiver that is signed before entering the tanning bed ultimately put the fault of any risk that occurs in the person wishing to tan. This should give some clue to the dangers of the activity.
Compiled using information from the following sources: Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy Harms, Roger W., M.D., et al, Introduction. American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org/