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Sun Tanning Beds In The U.S And Europe

Updated on March 31, 2010

Despite a whole bunch of bad press and controversy, sun tanning beds are still very popular all over the world. Many people don't realize that the way we Americans use these product's varies quite a bit from the way Europeans use them. In this article, we'll study these differences in detail. Before going any further though, I think it's important to mention the fact that I'm not a doctor or skin care expert. As I mentioned earlier, there is a ton of controversy surrounding the use of sunbeds. If you're interested in tanning, I recommend doing a lot of research before visiting the local Fabutan or commercial tanning bed salon.

Sun Tanning Bed
Sun Tanning Bed

Now, there are several key differences between commercial sunbeds here in America and the ones found overseas.  For the of sake clarity, we're going to break these differences down into two different headings - Use and Machines.  The "Use" section revolves around the difference between tanning practices in Europe and the States.  The "Machine" part talks about how the actual tanning sunbeds differ.

European Vs. American Sunbeds

Sun Tanning Beds On Amazon

The tanning beds in the states are a little bit different than the ones found in most parts of Europe.  The biggest difference is found in the lamps that charge these machines.  Without getting too technical with this thing, here's the gist of it.  North American tanning beds emit high levels of UVB rays.  For those of you that don't know, sunlight - or the light that comes from tanning bulbs for that matter - is a combination of UVA and UVB rays.  In an American sunbed, the UVB portion of these rays is between 4 and 9 percent.  This offers the tanner a quick burn - something preferred by American tanners.  In Europe, the lamps emit only between 1 and 3 percent UVB rays.  This allows our European friends the opportunity for a slow bake - as opposed to the quick burn.

So why do Americans prefer quick burns while Europeans opt for slow bakes?  Well, that's what the next section is for.

Sun Tanning Bed Usage In America And Europe


The main reason all men and women use sunbeds revolves around looks.  People like to look tanned...  For the most part, it's that simple - it doesn't matter whether you live in Europe or America.  There are some interesting differences in tanning practices when you compare these two places though.

First off, tanning in North America is, for the most part, seasonal.  Americans generally use indoor tanning as a way to prime their skin for the summer season.  This is why commercial tanning beds are a lot more popular between January and June.  Europeans, on the other hand, tend to use indoor tanning year round.  This is, in part, due to the fact that there is typically less hours of sunlight per day in Europe than there is here in America.  Europeans also use indoor tanning for more reasons than we do on this side of the water.  The primary reason is still cosmetic, but they also believe that tanning offers other health benefits.  Some of these things include muscle ache relief, vitamin D and even positive mood altering effects.

Are you a tanner?  Do you live in Europe or America?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Cheers!

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