Red Light Therapy and UV-exposure for Skin-rejuvenation.
Does the fear of wrinkles and premature aging of your skin keep you away from using sunbeds?
In that case this indoor tanning novelty is for you.
Hybrid Sunbeds, with both UV- and Red Light Therapy lamps, give you a soft, gentle, tan as well as vitamin D while the red light re-builds collagen and rejuvenates your skin.
By now, you must have heard about the importance for your health of having a high enough level of vitamin D.
Most likely you are also aware of the fact that we are meant to get most of our vitamin D from exposure to UVB-rays.
You can get UVB from sunshine but only on a clear day when the sun is higher than 45 degrees above the horizon.
For many of us living in cities or far away from the equator, sunshine is not a viable option as a regular, all year round, source of UVB for vitamin D.
Sunbeds, on the other hand, can give you UVB and vitamin D at any location and time and in any weather.
Hopefully you are clever enough not to have been fooled by the anti-tanning propaganda and skin-cancer scare from the dermatologists paid by the cosmetic sunscreen industry.
You might, however, still believe that using sunbeds regularly can give you wrinkles and make your skin age prematurely.
For sure, using sunbeds too much and too often can add some extra wrinkles on your face. Unfortunately, many indoor tanners do just that in their quest of becoming as dark as possible.
If used correctly, for a healthy skin-tone and as a source of vitamin D, sunbeds can help you not only to stay healthy but also to keep your skin fresh and smooth.
But still there is this nagging thought of getting wrinkles from the sunbed and looking older than your age.
Here is the good news: The new hybrid technology for indoor tanning will not only prevent new wrinkles, but also reduce existing.
The combination of lamps with red light and UV lamps in RED LIGHT THERAPY SUNBEDS, will give you the best of both worlds – red-light for collagen repair plus ultraviolet light for vitamin D and other benefits of UV-exposure.
Today’s sunbeds are not the perfect alternatives to the real sun
The sunlamp was invented as a substitute for sunlight. But even if it is technically possible to make a sunlamp which emits the full spectrum of sunlight, commercial sunbeds have become the source of mainly ultraviolet light.
The reason for that comes from the market demand from customers to tanning salons to get an immediate visible tanning result during a short tanning session. If the available power in a sunbed would be spread over the whole sunlight spectra, the session time in order to catch a tan, would be unreasonably long. Actually just like under the natural sunlight.
Sunbeds with lamps emitting red light in addition to the traditional UVA and UVB are now getting known as hybrid sunbeds.
Other names used are: Collarium; Solagen; Collatan and CollaD sunbeds (they can of course be horizontal as well as vertical).
They are one step closer to the ultimate role of sunbeds to become a more complete alternative to the natural sun in a modern urban environment.
Red light (633 nm wavelength) increases the collagen in your skin and thus reduces wrinkles and make your skin look younger.
Even if the red light also does increase the blood circulation in the skin, do not mix up this visible red light with the invisible infrared light which has longer waves which penetrate deeper into the skin and cause a heating effect there.
The increased blood circulation from the red light is in general beneficial for the skin, but even more so in combination with the ultraviolet light.
Briefly described, the combination of red-light and UV-light in a tanning session creates a win-win situation for both your tanning result and the rejuvenation of your skin.
What kind of hybrid sunbeds exists today?
Hybrid sunbeds (red light therapy sunbeds) with a mixture of UV-lamps and lamps with red-light have existed for a couple of years already.
The “Mon Amie” form KBL/Megasun was the first to the market. The first Mon Amie was a horizontal sunbed with 10 of each red- and UV- lamps (2 meter/120W) in the lower part and 14 UV-lamps (2 meter/180 W) plus 12 red light (collagen) lamps in the upper part.
The session-time is individually adjustable for the UV- and the collagen- lamps respectively. The normally recommended standard for session-time is totally 20 minutes with the UV-lamps switching off after half-time.
I personally had the opportunity to use a Mon Amie equipped with standard lamps for the European market from the factory but was not very satisfied with neither with the tanning result, nor with the vitamin D.
I had 6 sessions spread over 2 weeks. Each session was 20 minutes long with the UV-lamps turned off after 10 minutes. I found no visible increase of tan and my level of vitamin D decreased from 52 to 47 ng/ml. I (or rather my wife) did however notice a slightly improved freshness of the face-skin.
My conclusion after that exam was that the European standard of UV-lamps with only 0.8% UVB (about 1.6% according to the North American standard) was not enough to maintain my vitamin D at its usual high level and the 10 minutes UV-time was too short to make any additional colour to my more or less permanent base-tan. If I had started from a lower level of vitamin D and with a paler skin, the result would most likely have been more positive.
A study from 2012 with a sunbed equipped with similar UV-lamps (albeit only with UV-lamps) showed that it is possible to produce vitamin D corresponding to at least 2,000 – 5,000 IU during an 8-minute session also from lamps with such small amount of UVB.
Even if a sunbed in Europe might be weak in the UVB, recent research is showing that also the UVA rays give some very essential health benefits. Their stimulation of Nitric Oxide creation does wonders for your blood circulation and the cardiovascular system in general.
The initial Mon Amie from KBL/Megasun has since been developed also into a vertical unit and most other tanning bed manufacturers are now making hybrid sunbeds (horizontal as well as vertical, “stand-up”, units). Ergoline is one of the solarium manufacturers using “Hybrid Sunbed” in their description of their “Beauty Angel” concept.
One of the most interesting newcomers is a vertical sunbed from Alisun, the “Solagen”. In addition to the 24+24 collagen- and UV-lamps, it has an option to add three high-pressure lamps with red-light filters for extra rejuvenation of the face.
Like most other vertical hybrid sunbeds, the Solagen can also be equipped with a vibrating platform which amplifies both the rejuvenation and the soft tanning effect.
What makes this even more interesting is that those three high-pressure lamps can individually be equipped with filter for other colours, for example blue or even green light. (Even if my previous post about green-light therapy was made on April 1st, there is still some hint of truth in it).
That leads us into the question of the potential benefits of blue light. My personal view is that blue light has a role to play for more problematic skin. The cleansing effect of blue light has, for example, a good ability to reduce acne. For normal skin and as an addition to the combination of rejuvenation/tanning/vitamin D from red-light and UV-lamps, blue light has a lesser role to play.
The ideal combination of UV-lamps and collagen lamps
If we go outside the European 0.3 w/m2 limitation to markets like North-America and Russia/CIS, it is possible to find better (and probably healthier) combinations of red-light and UV-light than in the Mon Amie as described above.
When changing the 0.8 % UVB lamps towards 2.6 or even 3.2% (6-8% in North-America) UVB the ability of a hybrid sunbed to give both a higher dose of vitamin D as well as generate more melanin for the perfect base-tan during a shorter exposure time, becomes much better.
In general, I find 2.6% (~6% in North-America) to be a safe level of UVB in order not to be too close to the risk of burning. The higher UV-%, the smaller margin there is (of the session-time) between getting enough exposure for vitamin D and the risk of getting a burn.
Personally, I am very enthusiastic over the benefits I can get from the combination of UV-light and red-light therapy
In one of the places I live, I have installed a 12-lamp one-sided tanning-unit which I have equipped with a combination of UV- and collagen- lamps.
I have found that a combination of 8 collagen-lamps and only 4 UV-lamps (2.6% UVB according to the European scale) is enough for both a nice tan, vitamin D to keep my blood-level above 50 ng/ml and maximum rejuvenation from the red-light.
I try to use the unit at least 20 minutes every day. One day exposing my front and the next day my back.
If you are interested in purchasing (in Europe only) a similar sunbed, please drop me a message through the contact-form here, and I will arrange for a discounted special price. If you need something similar in the USA or Canada, Dr. Mercola is offering some choices HERE.
I have also noticed a very positive “side-effect” when using hybrid sunbeds. Small wounds (which you easily get when playing with a cat:-)), are healing much faster when having sessions in a hybrid sunbed than without. Probably it is the combination of collagen-repair by the red light and melanin stimulation by the UV-light that creates this healing effect.
Hybrid sunbeds in the tanning- or beauty- salon
More and more tanning- and beauty- salons are already offering red-light therapy for collagen repair. They do it, however, mostly with separate unit and with the recommendation not to use UV-tanning during the 3-4 weeks of red-light therapy sessions.
With the new hybrid tanning/red-light therapy sunbeds, it is possible to switch between the UV-and the red- light and/or use them together. In principle this means three possibilities with one investment.
I strongly believe that for many people, hybrid sunbeds will become the preferred mode of indoor tanning. It will also bring many new customers to the tanning salons which offer the combined UV- and red-light therapy for the optimal benefits of vitamin D and skin-rejuvenation.
Some tanning salons have already implemented the concept of hybrid tanning. Here is what Jon de Vroe from Solmania in Spain is saying about their concept:
“I think this is a very interesting development. At Solmanía, (tanning salon chain in Spain) we currently offer normal tanning (classic tanning) and a combination of UV and collagen light we call BeautySpa. With this last type of tanning, approx. 35% of the tubes are UV tubes and 65% are collagen tubes, the UVB level in the tanning tubes is of course higher than in normal tanning beds. The results are: a good long lasting tan, extra Vitamin D production, and it neutralizes the effect of premature ageing of the skin, as it really helps to improve skin care, skin hydration etc. I personally use this type of tanning now for about 3 years.
Between 40% and 50% of all tanning sessions are currently UV/collagen tanning sessions at Solmanía tanning salons.”
Do you know any other salon offering hybrid tanning? In that case, please tell us in the comments below.
Further development of combined UV- and red- light sunbed lamps
Manufacturers of lamps for sunbeds are already experimenting with the combination of UV-light and red-light in one lamp. I enjoy the opportunity to be a part of the development of the “perfect sun-lamp” from one of the largest sun-lamp manufacturers. Although we are not yet there, I do hope we will have a lamp ready until the autumn this year (2013).
The goal is to make a lamp with combined red-light and UV-light which will give all of this during only one session (12-15 minutes depending on skin-type, in a 42-48 lamp vertical sunbed):
- A good amount (10,000 to 15,000 IU depending on skin-type) of vitamin D
- A good base-tan with increased melanin and light pigmentation
- The skin-rejuvenating benefits of red-light
Even if there are some versions of such a “Collatan”-lamp for sale today, they do not yet meet my requirements as above. (They mainly fail in the vitamin D generation due to too little UVB).
You, the readers of the Tanning Blog, will of course be the first to know when there will be a Collatan (or CollaD) lamp which can get the seal: “Recommended by the Tanning Guru”.
Until then, please find a salon with a hybrid sunbeds and try one out. I am sure you will become as satisfied as I am with a rejuvenated, golden-hued, skin and higher vitamin D level. Don’t forget to share your experience with other readers – either in the comments below or on the Vitamin D Tanning Facebook page.
In my next post, I will describe which lotions I use in combination with the hybrid tanning in order to make my more than 60 year old face to look younger than 91% of other men of my age.
Your opinion is appreciated …