High or low pressure tanning lamps?

High or low pressure tanning lamps?

How to choose between a high pressure and a low pressure tanning lamp? Here is a brief guide to help you to identify a high pressure tanning lamp from the low pressure and to find the kind that is able to satisfy all your needs.

At first sight, the lamps are easily distinguishable one from the other. High pressure lamps have a square form given by the light bulbs placed inside reflecting parables; the low pressure lamps instead, are made with long lamps and look very similar to the neon pipes.

To a deeper level, the lamps are distinguished in base to the quantity and the type ultraviolet rays emitted. But, what are the UV rays?

There are three types of UV rays: A, B and C but only the first two can arrive on the earth, the UVC rays are absorbed by the ozone and don't reach the earth.
Our skin has a natural protection system against the UV rays. When it is submitted to these rays, it produces melanin and it becomes darker. The melanin is therefore, the natural screen of the skin against the light of the sun. Another protective screen of the skin is keratin. The exposure to the UV rays, especially to the UVBs, is able to increase the production of keratin creating an increase of the thickness. The keratin in the skin filters the UV rays and combined with melanin production, increases the ability of the skin to protect itself from the sun.
When the light strikes our body, the skin absorbs the UVA and UVB rays that penetrate to different depth in our body. The lamps are distinguished from the type of issued ultraviolet rays. The low pressure lamps send a less quantity of UVA rays and a high quantity of UVB rays, the high pressure lamps instead emit a great amount of  UVA ray combined with the relative filters fitted for that rays.

Therefore, we can say that:

  • Low pressure lamps emit rays that heat less and penetrate more deeply stimulating the melanin production for a gradual, deeper and long lasting tan but, at the same time, they tend to redden skin and to expose it to the risk of sunburns and erythema.
  • High pressure lamps instead emit rays that heat more and penetrate less in depth immediately oxidizing the superficial melanin layer of the skin for a darker but less lasting tan.

So, how is advisable to behave, when we intend to use solarium and tanning lamps?

First of all is essential to know what is our skin type and how it reacts to sun. If our skin is very pale and tanning can be very hard (skin type 1 or 2), it means that it has a low production of melanin and therefore a minimum protection from the UVs. Accordingly, for this type of skin it is necessary to expose itself to the sun or to the solariums with a special caution.

It is also important to pay attention to exposure times. For a safe tanning it is better to begin with a small amount of UV rays by getting started with short tanning session that will gradually increase its length together with a stop between each session of at least 24 hours.
In order to have a long lasting and golden coloring, it is advisable to start with low pressure tanning sessions to increase melanin production and then keep going on with high pressure session to gain a long lasting,  shiny and golden skin.