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Are Tanning Beds Safe?

Tanning beds are built with lamps that stimulate the melanocytes to produce melanin which is responsible for the dark pigment on our skins. But are these devices safe to use?

According to research, every single time you use a tanning bed, the risk of developing melanoma increases by 20 percent. There is no such thing as a safe tanning bed.

Are Tanning Beds Safer than Lying in the Sun?

Contrary to popular belief, tanning beds are not safer than lying in the sun. According to research, there is no such thing as a safe tanning bed, booth, or sun lamp. In fact, one session can increase your chances of developing skin cancer or melanoma. Nearly 25% of young adults were not aware of this fact. This is why the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires warning labels on all indoor tanning equipment.

The short answer is, yes, tanning beds are just as, if not more, harmful than the sun and there is no such thing as a safe tan. There’s many reasons to avoid tanning beds altogether.

Dr. Jennifer Lucas, Dermatologist

In addition to this, wrinkles, age spots, and loss of firmness and elasticity are more evident in people who tan. Tanning indoors dramatically speeds up the way your skin ages.

Frankly, we all want to look younger. Why do people tan? Because they want to look good, but the more exposure you get, the more photoaging or damage you do to your skin.

Dr. Jennifer Lucas, Dermatologist

Using a tanning bed may also subject yourself to serious injury. According to statistics, several emergency rooms in the United States have records of people treated for burns, eye injuries, and even loss of consciousness because of an indoor tanning bed. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology Association)

Can You Get Vitamin D in a Tanning Bed?

There is a myth going about that you can get a lot of vitamin D when you use a tanning bed. This is simply not true. The bulbs used in the tanning bed emit UVA light. For you to make vitamin D, your body would need UVB light.

If your goal is to increase the amount of vitamin D in your body, board-certified dermatologists recommend eating healthier or taking supplements. (Source: American Academy of Dermatology Association)

How Dangerous is Melanoma?

Studies have shown that there is a direct relation between the use of a tanning bed to the increased risk of all forms of skin cancers, including melanoma. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, there is a 75% increased risk of developing the life-threatening disease from just one indoor tanning session before the age of 35.

Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer and can metastasize to other organs. When detected early, it can be treatable, but you would need to know what to look for.

It’s that younger, female age group that’s really starting to have an increased risk of melanoma. It’s hard to know exactly what to attribute that to, but probably the biggest thing we’re seeing is that younger women are the ones in tanning beds. The safest way to tan is through sunless tanning. I recommend store-bought or professionally done spray tans or lotions/cream to get your healthy glow.

Dr. Jennifer Lucas, Dermatologist

(Source: Cleaveland Clinic)

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