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When you go to a gym, you’re probably trying to boost your health and get in shape. If you’re headed to a spa, you’re probably looking to relax and treat yourself. Both of these places – though they seem drastically different – let people feel more attractive and take a break from everyday life.

And the gym and the spa have even more in common: many of these centers are beginning to incorporate solariums that their clients can use regularly. Solariums are, basically, high-end tanning beds, traditionally used to add pigment to the skin and lend their users a glowy, healthful look.

In the last few decades, tanning beds have been getting an increasingly bad rap because their use has been linked to melanoma and skin damage. But – as many gym and spa owners know – using a solarium for very short amounts of time can actually benefit your health. The bad stuff comes from irresponsible and excessive use. We’ve drawn up some points about how solariums are used in a smart, health-promoting way.

They Help You Limit Your UV Exposure

Solariums are frequently blamed for exposing their users to too much ultraviolet light – and this claim is true when the equipment is used in excess or improperly. An overload of UV exposure can lead to skin damage – and even melanoma. But the human body actually requires some UV exposure to produce vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium and promotes bone density. The damage comes when you’re exposed to more UV rays than your body can use.

The correct amount of exposure within a solarium is about 3 minutes per day total and not much more. As long as you stick to this short amount of time, there is no real danger to using a solarium.

Control the UV Light You’re Exposed To Sunlight

Unless you really do live in a cave or under a rock, you’re going to have to go out into the sunlight. And the sun is the best source of UV light around. However, the amount of UV light that you get when you are out in the sun is almost impossible to really control, which means you could be exposed to very harmful amounts of UV radiation by just being outside for a few minutes too long. However, when you use a solarium properly, you can control the amount of UV radiation on your skin by using different controls and settings on the equipment. If you’re worried that you’ll overdo your outdoor exposure on a winter day, a solarium can be a good option (and an even better option on days that the cold weather doesn’t permit much time outdoors).

Up Your Vitamin D Production

If they’re able, our bodies will produce enough vitamin D in the sunny summer months to last us through the colder season.  But for people whose skin is highly pigmented or those who just don’t get much sun year-round, a solarium can be an efficient and healthy way to stimulate vitamin D production.

Solariums allow your body to get to work on its vitamin D stores in just a few minutes, rather than forcing you out into the sun to layout and possibly get burned. And if your region is overcast or rainy for many months out of the year, a solarium allows you to stay healthy and avoid bouts of depression, among other physical and emotional problems that occur from lack of sunlight and vitamin D.

Be Smart and Stay Safe

A solarium can be a great way to get some healthy UV ray exposure – but, like anything else, moderation is key. Stop by to discuss the best solarium options for your home – you’ll be feeling the sun every day!