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  • Sunglasses should be 99% UVB & 95% UVA at the very least.

Eye Protection for Indoor Tanning

 

Protecting your eyes by wearing sunglasses when outside in the sun is a common practice. For years the UV ray factor was not even known; people wore sunglasses to avoid the “squint”. Many people may think they can protect their eyes in a tanning bed/booth by closing their eyes, draping a towel over their eyes or wearing UV sunglasses. Unfortunately, they would be very wrong.

 

UVA and UVB rays both cause damage to the eyes so the protection of your eyes is of upmost importance. Photokeratitis is “sunburn to the eye” which can be extremely painful and gives a gritty feeling, as if something were in your eye. This may result in excessive tearing and extreme sensitivity to light. It is not considered permanent and does not usually cause long term damage. This may also be known as arc flash or arc eye, since it is much like what may occur if a welder does not use proper eye protection. Do this often enough or fail to properly protect your eyes from UV rays, and the result is an increased chance of cataracts or macular degeneration as you age. Within the tanning bed/booth the strength of the rays may be greater than that experienced in the sun and may be more focused.

 

Over time people have come to realize that eyelids do not offer the eyes the necessary protection from the UV rays. Why is this? First, the eyelids are very thin which would make them lacking in the multiple layers of protection that skin elsewhere provides. Secondly; they exhibit an inability to tan which seems to signify a lack of melanin, the necessary natural component of skin protection, making them more susceptible to skin cancer.

 

Therefore, most salons provide, UV protective eyeshields. Totally unlike sunglasses; they are little pods connected in the middle by a high-rise nosebridge and a headband that helps them fit snugly over your eyes and the delicate tissue surrounding them. They are made of various materials with tiny lenses which are usually made of polycarbonate, and should protect against 99.9% of UVB and 99% of UVA. You should be able to see clearly through the lenses to be able to turn the tanning unit off or reset the timer. For the fashion conscious they come in a wide variety of colors! Eyeshields are mandated by law in most states for tanning beds and booths. If you plan to be a regular tanning salon client, you may wish to purchase your own eyeshield.

 

In 1957, the Lucas Products Corporation originally developed the Sunnies® which were lenseless eye covers for sunbathing. In 1960, Super Sunnies® Eyeshields were developed with lenses and a headband. In 2000, they came out with Super Sunnies®iGear, a transparent jewel tone eyeshield that research had determined would be beneficial to mood therapy. The Super Sunnies® comply completely with the FDA UV ray protection requirements and are still “Made in the USA” in Toledo, Ohio.

 

Australian Gold produces 4 types of eye protection from the SunClipse®, see through eye cups that are connected by an adjustable connecting wire to SunGlobes®, individual fun-colored eye cups. This company is well known for their indoor tanning products and a quality expected by salon owners and clients alike.

 

Wink-Ease® Disposable Eye Protection is a single use form of eye protection that requires assembly and has a light medical adhesive to keep them in place. Eye Pro, Inc. also makes VIEWkeepers® which give more eyelash room than the Wink-Ease®. They provide total UVA and UVB blockage, since they are single use there is not a sanitation problem. These products meet the FDA requirement for the indoor tanning industry. Recommended use is in stand up booths.

 

The sunless tanning booth, such as the Mystic Tan™, makes use of DHA as its primary ingredient which is applied by misting. It causes the skin to darken over a period of time through interaction with the top layer of skin cells. Though approved by the FDA for topical use, it is not necessarily safe for sensitive areas or mucus membranes. Therefore, eye protection and nose filters are recommended, but many people choose to pass on the eye protection and simply close their eyes. While not legally mandated; eye protection is a smarter method.

 

There are benefits to tanning at a salon but there are also concerns, so be sure to listen carefully to the instructions and use the aids given by your salon professional. Now go work on that perfect healthy tan, safely.

 

-Miss Suntan

 

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