We are smack dab in the middle of winter. And this year, it’s a particularly fierce one! Are you dreaming of sunny days and warm, balmy evenings? Are you anticipating the summer when you can sunbathe every day and get that coppery luminescence that bespeaks health and vibrancy? Are you even getting impatient and thinking of heading to the tanning salon? Say it ain’t so!
Tanning beds not only give you an orange-ish looking tan, but they have an abominable reputation for causing skin damage and premature aging, and rightly so. The damage may not appear until many years later, but by then, it may be too late.
How Tanning Works
Tanning is actually a normal, adaptive response that the body utilizes to build up its resistance to ultraviolet radiation. When you are out in the sun, the skin darkens slightly due to an increase in pigment called melanin. Natural sunlight contains differing wavelengths of ultraviolet light. The UVA rays penetrate the skin and cause tanning, whereas the UVB rays are more likely to cause sunburn and damage to the skin layers.
Dangers of Tanning Beds
Tanning beds emit a concentrated dose of ultraviolet rays, up to three times the amount of natural sunlight, and a recent study done in the UK found that skin cells exposed to tanning beds sustained severe DNA damage. The Center for Disease Control also reports that tanning beds cause eye damage including retinal damage and corneal infections.
No Vitamin D
Natural sunlight provides the body with the materials it needs to produce its own Vitamin D, which is not actually a vitamin at all but a hormone necessary for growing healthy teeth and bones and for maintaining a healthy immune system. Consider this very important fact: sunlight has been used as a healing modality for centuries; it is both healthy and necessary to human well-being. On the other hand, tanning beds have no health benefits associated with them whatsoever! There are many more benefits of natural sunlight that you can read about in “Quantum Eating” .
Go Raw for Safer Tanning
On the raw food diet, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (especially young coconuts and their water) helps your skin to adjust to sun exposure, making sunburn less problematic. Careful, though! You can’t switch to raw foods for a mere month and then bake beside a Las Vegas pool all day with utter immunity.
Too much UVB radiation will bring toxins into play. The skin releases a lot of toxins through the skin. Sunlight is a purifier and greatly accelerates this process. Toxins are drawn to the surface, and if too many toxins are released at one time, they become fried. This “frying” is a chemical reaction which can result in the growth and spread of abnormal (read: cancerous) cells. That is what “cancer caused by the sun” actually is. If cancer does not occur, then the result will still be what we call “premature aging.”
What Works for Me
I make sure I get at least fifteen to thirty minutes of direct sun exposure every sunny day. As the days slowly lengthen, you can incorporate sunbathing into your raw food lifestyle.
Steer clear of tanning beds: go for the real thing! Gradually start to expose the body to increasing periods of early morning or early evening sunlight with no sunblock. During the hot part of the day, when the sun’s rays are most intense, be sure to stay out of the sun, cover up, or wear a hat. By building up your exposure gradually, your skin will darken naturally and release the proper amount of melanin to adapt to healthy exposure without burning. Also take a look at the Goltis tanning method.
Oh, and one more benefit: getting the real thing is free!