On an average, millions of Americans undergo tanning with sun beds or tanning beds each day. Dermatologists are therefore cautioning users that they take care of their skin before doing so. This is due to the fact that tanning beds are now being linked to various skin diseases. Tanning beds contain a host of microbes which can increase risk of herpes, ringworm, eczema and many other skin issues. In today’s article, we will take a look at ringworm and sun beds and how you can minimize your exposure to tanning salon pathogens.
Research on skin infections and sun beds
Several studies were conducted recently on 10 tanning salons in New York. Experts took sample cultures from beds in these salons from areas where the client’s skin is in maximum contact with the bed. The results were shocking: experts discovered these cultures were full of pathogens including enterococcus spp, staph aureus, enterobacter cloacae etc. All these microbes have been linked with serious skin infections. There is no doubt that a patient with ringworm seeking UV light treatment could contaminate the tanning bed making it unhygienic for others.
No hygiene standards and regulations
Indoor tanning bed salons are not legally bound by any standardized sanitation regulations. Salon owners usually instruct staff/personnel to wipe down the beds after each use. But regulations are not always enforced. Despite the fact that there is legitimate concern about pathogen transmission, tanning salons are not really seeing a need for strict enforceable sanitation regulations. The truth is that customers come in direct and maximum contact with these pathogens, so there is even greater need for hygiene rules.
What can tanning salon operators do to minimize risk
Tanning salons need to define checklists for their salon personnel and cleaning staff. Each staff member must be responsible and ensure using all the points in the checklist. Store managers must check and recheck each bed/cubicle. Managers must implement strict rules like withholding monthly bonus if the responsible member fails to adhere to the checklist. Also, any person coming into the salon with red, inflamed skin or carrying a contagious disease risk is a liability and should be sent home.
Use of disinfectants to kill pathogens
Salons need to use strong antimicrobial solutions to clean the tanning beds. Products with strong surfactants ensure cleaning the germs despite minimum contact time. At the same time, the disinfectants used should be non- irritating to the eyes and skin. Gloves and goggles must be cleaned and placed inside protective cases to prevent airborne germs from infecting them again. Cleaners like hydrogen peroxide are very effective as they do not harm the skin and eyes and also break down into water and oxygen leaving no residue.
The safe way to tan: tips for consumers
Many Americans enjoy tanning, but as seen above, it comes with risks. Here are some simple tips to help you minimize your exposure to ringworm causing pathogens:
- Visit tanning salons in moderation.
- Know that even the best salons can be breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses on their tanning beds. Insist that the assistants wipe down the bed before you use it.
- If possible, tan while standing up. Many salons have standing booths instead of beds and this minimizes exposure to germs. In case that is not possible, give your entire skin a wipe down with an antibacterial/antifungal disinfectant before you tan. The microbes will end up dead and you can enjoy a tan in peace.
Watch out for ringworm signs
The fungi that cause ringworm are lurking everywhere-bathroom, public washrooms, swimming pools, tanning salons and nail parlors. If you visit these places frequently, you must keep an eye out for symptoms and signs of the diseases:
- Red, itchy skin or scalp
- Dry, scaly and circular lesions
- Hair loss in the affected area
Ringworm is common in hot humid months and can take a few days to go away on its own. If you are sure it is ringworm, try using over-the-counter ringworm creams containing clotrimazole or miconazole. Products like Blue Star Ointment can also help. Most cases will clear up in a week to two weeks.
How to get rid of ringworm in 24 hours
- Keep the skin clean and dry. Apply antifungal skin cream 3-4 times on affected areas. Instead of antifungal cream you can also use tea tree oil. This essential oil contains anti-bacterial and antifungal properties which can kill the fungus overnight.
- Minimize exposure to the fungus by reducing tanning salon visits and limiting sun exposure.
- If the topical treatment does not show results, you may want to consider oral antiviral medicines after consulting a specialist.
Tanning is great but you need to know about its vital facts so you can make it a safe and fun experience. Too much exposure to UV rays and UV lights can harm your skin. Many skin experts are also of the opinion that ringworm and sun exposure or UV rays exposure are linked and that these can also cause dermatitis and fungal skin infections like ringworm and tinea versicolor. So follow basic safety rules and ensure that salon operators practice hygiene standards strictly.