Tanning Salons: What You Risk for That ‘Healthy Glow’

If you’re like most people, you don’t want to show up at the beach or pool party looking like you spent your life in a flour sack. You want that glowing bronze-healthy tan. So you schedule a few hours a week at your local tanning salon to “brown up.” You’re not alone.  Indoor tanning has grown to a $5-billion-dollar industry. There are more tanning salons in an average city than Starbucks or McDonald’s. But are indoor tanning booths really safe?  Here are some sobering facts you might consider before you tan up with some “indoor rays.”

Bombarding You with UVA & UVB

Your typical tanning booth exposes your skin to ultraviolet (UV) A and B radiation. UVA rays penetrate your skin’s top layers and usually give you a sunburn. UVB rays penetrate deeper, causing rashes, wrinkles and “leatherized” skin as you get older.  Sadly, both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer.  What tanning operators sometimes neglect to tell you is that the levels of UVA and UVB radiation exposure you get from their tanning booths can sometimes be higher than tanning directly from the sun.

Altering You Skin’s DNA

Several studies have shown that tanning booths can increase your risk of getting melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent. The truth is that UV radiation damages the DNA in skin cells, which can trigger such skin cancers as melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. It can also cause premature skin aging and even suppress your immune system. A recent meta-analysis published in 2014 by Colantonio and colleagues revealed that using tanning beds was linked with a subsequent melanoma diagnosis, and that exposure from more than 10 tanning sessions was most strongly associated with these diagnoses. What’s more, there was no statistically significant difference between the use of newer and older tanning technologies.

400,000 Cases of Skin Cancer Annually

A 2014 study by Wehner and colleagues estimates that more than 410,000 non-melanoma skin cancer cases and more than 10,0000 melanoma-related skin cancer cases may be linked to indoor tanning in the U.S., Australia and Europe each year. It’s no wonder most dermatologists discourage the use of tanning salons, and why the World Health Organization classified tanning beds as a definite cancer risk.

Opt for Tanning Creams

Sunless tanning creams or self-tanners can give you a tanned look without exposing you to harmful UV rays. Sold as lotions or sprays, the active ingredient in these is the color additive dihydroxyacetone, which reacts with dead, surface skin cells to temporarily darken the skin. The coloring typically wears off after a few days, but these sunless tanning products are generally considered a safe alternative to direct sunlight or tanning booths if used as directed.

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla3 months ago

I've never used one, I guess that living in Nicaragua makes no sense going to one jajajaj

Judy Apelis
Judy Apelisabout a year ago

Many thanks!

Rhonda Broes
Rhonda B.about a year ago

After a few highlighted cases of young women in Australia dying from melanomas from frequenting solariums, many states here have banned them totally. There has been so much publicity here about the dangers that most people just get spray tans these days. Solariums are a thing of a past era.

Colin Hope
Colin Hopeabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing!!

Janis K.
Janis K.about a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

Debbie Williamson
Debbie Williamsonabout a year ago

The last article I read was about people wanting to lighten their skin. It all seems silly to me.

Marie W.
Marie W.about a year ago

Healthy glow - like Fukushima?

Rhonda B.
Rhonda B.about a year ago

I'm fair skinned and I wouldn't use a tanning bed.

Katie K.
Katie K.about a year ago

Unfortunately for me, I used them for years when they first hit the scene and am now a mess from hitting the electric beach so I looked tan going to the pool. What a fool I was and now suffer the consequences. I should be a poster idiot and show what can happen if you live long enough and consider this a beauty regimen.

John B.
John B.about a year ago

Thanks Alex for info.