Infrared saunas use deep infrared light to warm the sauna chamber and anyone inside. Infrared light has a longer wavelength than visible light. Tanning beds use ultraviolet (UV) light to activate skin pigments and give you a tan. UV light has a shorter wavelength than visible light.
Infrared light can be absorbed as radiant heat. Infrared gives you the warm glow you feel outside in the sunlight. Infrared light is relatively low-energy and there are no harmful effects associated with moderate infrared light exposure.
Infrared saunas use a special bulb or emitter to warm the room with infrared radiation. Different infrared heaters can produce different wavelengths of infrared radiation. Far-infrared (FIR) sources generate infrared with wavelengths from 7 to 14 microns. This radiation is said to penetrate deep into your body and may aid in dislodging toxins from within fat cells. Infrared saunas do not produce any harmful UV radiation.
Dangers of Infrared Saunas
It is believed the dangers of infrared saunas are not related to the infrared heat source but to general overheating and dehydration. People with certain health problems or people taking certain medications may be at further risk. Toxins can be mobilized from fat tissues by taking a sauna. If you stop sweating in an infrared sauna, this may be a sign of heat exhaustion or dehydration and impending heat stroke. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking fluids when you take a sauna. People with heart conditions, lupus or brain tumors should not take saunas.
Tanning beds are designed to give skin exposure to cosmetic or therapeutic UV light. Some people use tanning beds to get an attractive tan. They are also used to treat some medical conditions. UV light is divided into three basic groups.
Tanning Bed Hazards
UVA is the longest wavelength and the least dangerous. UVA is from 315 to 400 nanometers in wavelength and is considered the safest UV light. UVB is shorter wavelength and can cause skin and tissue damage when excess exposure occurs. UVB can cause skin cancer and cataracts. About 97 to 99 percent of natural sunlight reaching Earth is UVA. Tanning bed lamps that have more UVB can cause skin damage including burning and skin cancer. UV light also causes cataracts. Always wear protective goggles when using a tanning bed. Tanning beds are not recommended for children.