Infrared and Ultraviolet Light
There are a variety of beauty services on the market today and many of us partake in several of them, mixing and matching as we please. Whether it’s a “pamper-me” day or a regular routine, it is important to understand how the tanning, beauty and wellness services you love work together.
Our Certified Providers and their customers have asked, “How do infrared sessions work with my current UV tanning routine?” To answer this question, we consulted with our Clinical Director, Dr. Aaron Flickstein to find out if clients can tan and use and infrared body wrap in the same day as well as how the two services can work together. But first, a little history on Infrared and Ultraviolet light (UV).
Infrared heat and UV light are both parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and they differ in regards to their visibility, wavelength and frequency. UV has a greater frequency and shorter wavelength than infrared, it is the frequency of light just beyond violet and it stimulates melanin production, which makes the skin tone darker. Infrared shows itself in the form of heat and it does not tan the skin, it penetrates deeply to relieve pain, break up fats, toxins and provide wellness benefits to the user. Infrared makes up approximately 54% of our suns output, while UV only accounts for 7% (Kochevar).
Dr. Flickstein says the use of UV light – in the right amount – can be quite beneficial for the body “Ultraviolet peps up your cells and they love it,” says Flickstein. “UV is a nutrient for the immune system, but the tricky part is getting just the right amount of exposure.”
In his book, Health and Light: The Extraordinary Study that Shows How Light Affects your Health and Emotional Well-Being, time lapse photographer Dr. John Ott discovered that full spectrum lighting can positively or negatively affect our health and wellness. Based on his research Dr. Ott became interested in how the human body would respond to different types of light energy. He had a hunch that the type of lighting a person is exposed to would affect their overall well-being. “Dr. Ott’s research shows us that the human body can benefit greatly from exposure to the electromagnetic spectrum. The truth is, a large group of conditions can be helped when the body is exposed to light and/or infrared heat, including arthritis, colds, flu and other conditions,” says Flickstein.
Infrared sessions provide unparalleled wellness results, and they may also improve the health of damaged skin. A 2008-2009 study found a connection between infrared and its ability to reduce UV-induced damage. The researchers tested how the skin would react to infrared pre-treatment prior to UV tanning and found a decrease in the number of sunburned cells. “Studies like this one have determined that infrared heat provides resistance to UV-induced cell damage from over-exposure” says Flickstein. “This research helps us see that infrared is a beneficial to the skin,” says Flickstein. Hence, the reason tanning salon owners have found success with incorporating infrared services into their menu, their clients love the way it makes their skin look and feel. Addtionally, clients love options when choosing the tanning salon services they will participate in.
So, can those who UV tan also participate in infrared sessions? Of course, we just recommend the services are done on different days of the week. Our reasoning is simple; we don’t want to expose the body to too much heat or too much of the electromagnetic spectrum in one day. For those who want to see results from both services it’s helpful to suggest they wrap one day, tan the next, wrap again and so on.
Effective skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent aging effects and repair skin damage. Infrared heat therapy, such as that in FIT Bodywrap, can help clients maintain glowing, rejuvenated skin all year long. After all, the skin is the body’s largest organ. It should be paid attention so it can remain beautiful and in good health.
- Kochevar IE, Pathak MA, Parrish JA. Photophysics, photochemistry, and photobiology. In: Freedberg IM, Eisen AZ, Wolff K, Austen KF, Goldsmith LA, Katz SI, et al., editors. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. McGraw-Hill; New York: 1999.
- Jantschitsch C, Majewski S, Maeda A, Schwarz T, Schwarz A. Infrared radiation confers resistance to UV-induced apoptosis via reduction of DNA damage and upregulation of antiapoptotic proteins. J Invest Dermatol. 2009;129:1271–9.
- Holzer, Aton M., Mohammad Athar, and Craig A. Elmets. “The Other End Of The Rainbow: Infrared And Skin”. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 130.6 (2010): 1496-1499. Web.