Absolutely not! The answer is no. Tanning beds generate UVA or Long Wavelength UV. UVA penetrates the skin very deeply while the shorter wavelengths of UVB do not. UVA is used in photoherapy when combined with a Psoralen drug and the therapy is called PUVA.
In tanning bed antiquity, the UVB content was much higher. Today, in the USA, the FDA has regulated that the UVB content in tanning beds must be very low! Because of regulations, tanning beds produce only 4.2% to 6.5% UVB in the USA and typically 1% to 3% in Europe. To read the US FDA Regulations <Click Here>. The level of UVB radiation is in the following statement “Performance requirements–(1) Irradiance ratio limits. For each sunlamp product and ultraviolet lamp, the ratio of the irradiance within the wavelength range of greater than 200 nanometers through 260 nanometers to the irradiance within the wavelength range of greater than 260 nanometers through 320 nanometers may not exceed 0.003 at any distance and direction from the product or lamp. UVB is commonly defined as 280 to 320 nanometers.
Tanning Salons can be a risk for the typical consumer as the output from these beds can vary greatly from bed to bed and treatment/tanning times must be adjusted based on lamp power. When a bed is re-lamped and you are not told then a sunburn is very likely.
Read this article http://www.pnas.org/content/101/14/4954.full which seems to indicate that UVA may be more dangerous than UVB. This is a complicated subject but it does appear that it is UVA that contributes to premature skin aging and is more likely to cause cancers of the skin.
UNDERSTANDING UV RAYS
“Most everyone is aware of the risks associated with UVB exposure, however there are real risks associated with UVA exposure including skin aging, DNA destruction and even skin cancer. Protecting your skin from UVA rays is just as important as protecting yourself against UVB rays.” – A quote by Dr. Henry Lim, Vice President-Elect, American Academy of Dermatology and Chairman of Dermatology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI.
Here’s another posting at this blog on the diferences twixt UVA and UVB. See PUVA vs UVB NARROWBAND.
Don’t be fooled by the non-medical advice of a tanning salon owner! Check with your dermatologist.