The Hard Truth About Tanning

man unwittingly increasing his chances of having skin cancer by using a dangerous tanning booth.



Many people don’t realize the dangers of using tanning booths. The truth is tanning booths are far more risky than sun exposure. Consider these facts:

  • The World Health Organization has determined that UV rays from tanning beds are human carcinogens that cause cancer.

  • The more you tan and the younger you start tanning, the more likely it is that you will get melanoma. The increased risk of melanoma associated with tanning bed use is 59% for people whose first exposure to artificial UV rays in a tanning bed occurred before age 35 years. That risk increases with the number of tanning bed sessions per year.

  • Using a tanning bed for 20 minutes is equivalent to spending one to three hours a day at the beach with no sun protection at all.

  • Tanning beds emit 3-6 times the amount of radiation given off by the sun.

  • For most people, 5-10 minutes of unprotected sun 2-3 times a week is enough to help your skin make Vitamin D, which is essential for your health. Getting more sun won’t increase your Vitamin D level, but it will increase your risk of skin cancer. Safe sources of Vitamin D are milk, fish, some fortified orange juices, and supplements.

  • 2.5 million teens use tanning booths each year including 35% of girls age 17. Many start as early as age 13.

  • Tanning booths emit mostly UVA rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin and damage your cells’ DNA at precisely the place where most melanomas begin. Tanning booths also emit some UVB rays, which increases your chances of getting melanomas as well as other types of skin cancer (basal cells and squamous cells).

Plain and simple: avoid tanning. There’s no such thing as a “healthy tan.” Tanned or burned skin is damaged skin, period.


Click here to learn more about how to Practice Safe Skin


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