Anyone find sunbeds help during the winter?

I went on holiday to Barcelona there a little while ago and I found that it helped my recovery even after I came back. I made alloy more progress after having the sunshine for a while so I was wondering if anyone had tried sunbeds and if they found they helped at all during the winter months. I have no interest in getting a tan but if it'll help reduce the flare ups I'd be more than happy to try.

23 Replies

  • Hmmm, I don't think I would risk using a sunbed due to the risk of skin cancer. I've heard of using special lights for treating SAD so maybe this would be worth looking into.

    Paula x

  • The risks of tanning lamps is overstated.

    The problem of skin cancer arising from UVA exposure is serious but no one ever needs to get sunburnt either on a tanning bed or in real sunlight.

    The fact many people burn very easily is a sign their skin has become malapted to it's natural environment.

    That can easily be changed however it does take time. If you started now it would be March before you would really appreciated the difference.

    Skin Texture, Cancer and Dietary Fat- Wholehealthsource


    Natural Sunscreen Options Healthyfellow

    Eat Your Sunscreen? | Wellness Mama

    UV hardening therapy: a novel intervention in patients with photosensitive cutaneous lupus erythematosus.

    Anyone thinking of using regular SHORT, nonburning UV exposure through the winter should try to improve their skin at the same time if not before using ALL of the suggestions at the above links. Increasing Vitamin D and omega 3 levels first is probably going to achieve the greatest benefits in preventing the damage from sunburn.

    The actual damage to DNA that sets off the cancer cascade arises from the amount of iron from our blood that's released by the inflammation following burning. We should ALL be trying to reduce excess iron and one excellent way of doing that is by becoming blood donors if at all possible.

    Regular blood donation removes excess iron (as does having periods) so iit's particularly valuable for ALL men and women who have past menopause. If you start donating before your are 68 they will let you carry on after you are 70 so it's a free anti-ageing service for those who are able to donate regularly.

  • People with RA on drugs such as MTX are not allowed to donate blood, so not appropriate for most of us.

  • It's such a pity.

    However if you have children or relatives it's worth making the point that iron overload is one of the driving forces for the ageing process and everything we can do to prevent excess iron damaging our DNA is a good idea.

    One of the reasons MELATONIN is so important and why people who works shifts (disrupted circadian rhythm) have increased cancer risks is because melatonin binds with iron and acts as an iron chelator.

    Getting better quality sleep is a really good idea for improving your protection from iron. .

    This free download automatily adjusts LED displays on phones/ipad/pc to reduce light output in the evening and so increase melatonin secretion before bedtime

    f.lux: software to make your life better

    In the Far East places like Okinawa they drink a lot of Turmeric Tea (and use it in curries) and curcumin (the active ingredient in the spice turmeric) is another IRON CHELATOR which is probably one of the reasons they have the longest life expectancy.There are plenty of recipes for turmeric tea online. You can find Turmeric root (it's like ginger root) on market stalls for Asian Community and just putting a slice of turmeric and ginger in a pot of GREEN TEA and letting it brew for a bit. makes a nice drink. You can leave the turmeric/ginger slices in the pot for several brews until it loses it's flavour.

    Green Tea itself helps prevent excess iron deposition.

    So there are other options apart from regular blood donation for getting rid of excess iron.

    Lactoferrin is another ideal way of binding iron. If you can find a dairy where they sell raw milk or have a cheese maker visiting your farmer's market they may be able to bring raw milk to the market if you order it in advance. Lactoferrin is reduced in the pasteurization and homogenization process so there is lots more in raw milk. You can also get lactoferrin supplements.

  • Thanks paula :)

    I was more interested in its effect on RA rather than my mental health. I am aware of the risks but tbh I would take a calculated risk for one winter if I thought ti would make my life easier. I can't find any research on it so it's probably just a pipe dream.

  • Found this but I am sceptical because of it's source.

    I'll have to some more research I think.

  • Yes you definitely need to research as that source is likely biased lol. I just had a little peek at light therapy and there's lots of stuff online. It's so hard deciding what's real and what's quackery!

  • We mustn't get LIGHT therapy mixed up with UV therapy.

    Light therapy whether using bright white light or full spectrum lights only refers to the VISIBLE LIGHT waves and not the Ultra Violet Radiation that is used in tanning and vitamin D lights.

    There is a useful guide to UV light in nature here

    It's for REPTILE owners but exactly the same process happens in human skin.

    Bright light therapy is about improving or correcting circadian rhythm by the effect of light through the eyes directly acting on the Pineal gland to stop the production of melatonin during the day and so enhance melatonin production through the night.

    It is effective but generally not as effective as also correcting Vitamin D deficiency so really one needs to do both.

    Human DNA is set to produce Vitamin D3 from dawn to dusk and Melatonin from dusk to dawn. Both of these are ANTI-INFLAMMATORY agents so we need to make sure we try to achieve optimal levels of both.

  • Light therapy works by regulating the chemicals released in the brain that tell you to wake up and to sleep, it's basicly just blue light. Sun beds emmit UV which would make them different, I have no idea if they would help for RA I just know that when I go somewhere hot I get better quicker and stay better for longer, I'm not sure if that has anything to do with UV or vitiman D or what.

    You ever tried vitimin D suppliments? maybe that's what I'm getting from it.

  • medical-dictionary.thefreed...

    Hello like Paula I too wdould be reluctant to use a sunbeds becaus

  • Hi I went to tenerife last year in the heat and sun and had no painkillers for 2 whole weeks,came back here and was in pain after 3 days,asked my dr. For a prescription to go again she laughted and said no,so many of us dread the winter its so unfair!!! Xx

  • Ha! if only we could get prescription holidays :) I'd be so happy.

  • I have found last winter that I had a lot less flareups when I used a sun showe on ce a week or less but as methotrexate can make you sun sensitive I'm gonna have to stay off them this year which bums me out a lil especially if I have more flareups without. I take vitamin D and its effect isn't is good as the sun showrt, my achey joints always felt better I'm wondering if its related to the warm air the preduce, the heat penetrating were I ache rather than anything else. Its sep now nd I'd happily live in thermals

  • I bought some thermals from Sports Direct last week and I absolutely love them. They keep me toastie warm on these chilly days :-)

  • Yup, I'm already in my thermals too lol.

  • I wonder what it is too, because if I'm in a warm house in the winter it makes no difference I still get flare ups but if I'm in a cool house in a sunny country I'm much better. There must be something besides the vitamin D that is coming from it, or maybe it's the combination of the two. Thanks for your reply, I'm not on methotrexate any more so I'd feel ok about using the sunbeds in that regard I just didn't want to go on them if I wasn't sure they would help.

  • I read that Vitamin D3 (which you can get from the sun during spring to Autumn in the UK, supplements and sunbeds) is used by the body in helping activating its immune system by helping to activate the body's Tcells. Some research is being done on this regarding RA by Arthritis Research (link below) but results will take a few years to come out. Interesting stuff though.

    I also read that the Vitamin D from the sun is more effective than the supplements as it is absorbed in a different way. I am not a fan of sun beds - i think they age your skin not to mention the Big C scare. I also think that the exercise you get whilst out and about in the sun is equally as important if you can manage it.

    I would advise that you get your Vitamin D3 levels checked by your gp and see if they are okay. It seems that a lot of RA patients have very low levels but suprisingly this doesn't get tested on monthly blood tests.

    Also, to take supplements during the winter (or a winter sun break somewhere hot or high up) and get out in the sun during the summer time. In the Uk, they advise a low dose of Vitamin D (500 iu per day) alongside a calcium supplement (D-Cal i think it is called). I have found that a low dose makes no difference at all. The link below advises a much higher dose (5000 - 10000 iu per day but to get it checked regularly) and mentions that you can get the calcium from your food (alongside other foods) to help you absorb it. I think that it helps (can't harm) but i am at an early stage so the jury is still out on this for me. An interesting site is below which gives more information on Vitamin D in general. Seems sensible enough.

    Good luck,


  • If you want to learn more in detail about the role of Vitamin D3 in inflammation and the immune response there is a useful lecture here.

    Vitamin D mechanisms in Inflammation, Allergy, and Autoimmunity: Advanced Concepts

    I should warn you it is intended for doctors so you may find (like me) you need to listen to it several times before you get the basics.

    CityAssays (Birmingham NHS path lab) offer Postal Vitamin D Blood Spot Testing for £25 (£20 if you bulk buy 10 packs and share with your family/friends) That helps you find out if the amount of Vitamin D supplement (or UV exposure from sun/tanning lamps) is sufficient to keep your Vitamin D3 level at around the 125nmol/l level at which Vitamin D3 is most effective at fighting inflammation.

    How Vitamin D Inhibits Inflammation

  • That's the biggest problem with living in Ireland, there often isn't any sun to get out in in the summer lol. Thanks for all the info Emma, exactly what I was looking for :)

  • the MTX and sulpha have made me hugely sun sensitive, so just peeking my nose outdoors without sunblock brings me out in a rash. Hate to think what a sunbed would do to me! And I hate heat.... But basically I'd do what feels good to you, so if 5 mins every now and then makes you feel better then go for it! Just starts slowly with a couple of minutes at a time in case you get sun sensitivity too. Polly

  • Hi Polly

    Please consider the links I've posted in reply to paulywoo at the top of the thread.

    But do remember it does take time to change the nature of every cell at or near the surface of your skin.

    Omega 3, Vitamin D3 and the anti-oxidants suggested at the links I've provided together with UVB hardening and the removal of inflammatory foods from your diet can make a huge change so that everyone can improve their skin irrespective of whether they have lupus or other photosensitive condition or not.

    We should regard sensitivity to sunlight (our own natural environment) as a sign there is something profoundly wrong with our diets that needs changing urgently.

  • Do you have RA? I think perhaps you are referring to other types of sun sensitivity rather than that provoked by sulphasalazine. As an RA sufferer I have an exemplary diet as regards to things like anti-inflammatory foods, and make sure that my Vit D is fine, etc etc.

  • What MOST people think of as a fine or adequate vitamin D level is probably less than half that required to deal effectively with inflammation.

    At best most UK adults are around 75nmol/l at the end of August (given a sunny summer) and ideally 125nmol/l is required for optimum effect on inflammation.

    It's only £25 to get a 25(OH)D test by post from the NHA pathlab for Birmingham CityAssays. It really is worth checking your numbers. Unless you are taking an effective strength supplement, at least 5000iu daily you'll not be anywhere near that.

    Look at the graph in the banner at Grassrootshealth and you will see the typical responses of Americans on different daily vitamin D intakes.

    If you want to deal adequately with inflammation you need to draw a line between 50ng/ml and 125nmol/l and see how many people are well below that line even on quite high daily intakes.

    And the USA is nearer the Equator than the UK.

    I don't have RA but I've been following the science on vitamin D and it's role in inflammatory conditions for many years now so have it all at my fingertips.

    The trouble with most people is that their skins have become oversensitive to just about everything because of the pro inflammatory nature of their diets and lifestyles.

    Reading the Daily Mail health section is a depressing saga of ever more extreme measures some people have to do to stay alive because of their total inability to live in the real world.

    Getting back to the ORIGINAL specifications under which human DNA evolved helps just about everyone who tries a Paleo style diet or even just eliminates wheat or other allergens and also improves their Vitamin D, melatonin, omega 3 and magnesium status.

    Traditionally living populations in East Africa have a mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration of 115 nmol/l.= 46 ng/ml

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