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Medical Tanning: When UV Exposure is Prescribed by Dermatologists

Medical Tanning

Tanning beds and prolonged sun exposure often get a bad rap due to their association with skin cancer and premature aging. However, there's another side to the story: medical tanning. This practice, which involves controlled UV exposure prescribed by dermatologists, can be a valuable treatment for certain skin conditions. Let's explore what medical tanning is, its benefits, and how it is safely administered.

What is Medical Tanning?

Medical tanning, also known as phototherapy or UV therapy, involves the use of ultraviolet (UV) light to treat various skin conditions. Unlike the recreational use of tanning beds for cosmetic purposes, medical tanning is a carefully controlled and monitored process. It is prescribed by dermatologists to address specific skin issues and is conducted under medical supervision.

Conditions Treated with Medical Tanning

Medical tanning can be beneficial for a range of dermatological conditions, including:

  1. Psoriasis: This chronic skin condition causes red, scaly patches on the skin. UVB light therapy can help slow the growth of affected skin cells.

  2. Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis): UV therapy can reduce inflammation and alleviate the symptoms of eczema, such as itching and redness.

  3. Vitiligo: This condition leads to the loss of skin pigment, resulting in white patches. UVB light therapy can stimulate melanocyte production, helping to restore skin color.

  4. Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma: This rare type of skin cancer can be treated with UV light to control its progression and alleviate symptoms.

  5. Acne: In some cases, UV light therapy can help reduce acne lesions by killing bacteria on the skin and reducing inflammation.

Types of UV Therapy

There are different types of UV therapy used in medical tanning:

  • Narrowband UVB (NB-UVB): This is the most common form of phototherapy. It uses a specific wavelength of UV light (311-313 nm) to treat skin conditions with minimal side effects.

  • Broadband UVB (BB-UVB): This form uses a broader range of UV wavelengths. While effective, it is less commonly used due to a higher risk of side effects compared to narrowband UVB.

  • PUVA (Psoralen + UVA): This treatment combines a drug called psoralen with UVA light. Psoralen makes the skin more sensitive to UV light, enhancing the therapy's effectiveness.

Safety and Precautions

Medical tanning is conducted in a controlled environment, typically within a clinical setting. Here are some key safety measures and precautions:

  • Professional Supervision: Treatments are administered by trained medical professionals who monitor the patient's skin response and adjust exposure times accordingly.

  • Protective Measures: Patients are often required to wear protective eyewear and may have certain areas of the skin shielded to prevent overexposure.

  • Tailored Treatment Plans: Each treatment plan is customized based on the patient's condition, skin type, and medical history to minimize risks and maximize benefits.

  • Regular Monitoring: Patients undergo regular check-ups to monitor progress and detect any adverse effects early on.

Benefits of Medical Tanning

Medical tanning offers several benefits for individuals with specific skin conditions:

  • Effective Symptom Relief: Many patients experience significant improvement in symptoms, such as reduced itching, scaling, and redness.

  • Non-Invasive Treatment: UV therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that can be used when topical treatments or medications are not sufficient.

  • Improved Quality of Life: By alleviating symptoms and improving skin appearance, medical tanning can enhance a patient's overall quality of life.

While tanning beds for cosmetic purposes can pose significant health risks, medical tanning under the guidance of a dermatologist offers a safe and effective treatment for various skin conditions. If you think UV therapy might be beneficial for you, consult with a dermatologist to discuss your options and develop a personalized treatment plan. Always prioritize professional medical advice and supervision to ensure the best outcomes for your skin health.

Looking for a place to get your tan on?

Tan By The Sea offers both UV tanning and spray tanning services. We also offer a variety of spa services.

We want to help you look and feel your best. Our team of experts will help you choose the right tanning option for you and provide you with the best possible service.

Come in today for a free consultation!

For more information about our services call us at 760-729-1792 or visit our website:

Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm

Saturday - Sunday: 10am - 6pm

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