The appearance of sun-kissed skin is something that many people find attractive and desirable, which is why so many people spend time in the sun with the intent of tanning or go to tanning facilities. While tanning beds might seem convenient, the truth is that they are harmful to the people that use them in a variety of different ways.
It should be noted that getting a tan of any kind can actually damage the skin cells. Tanning outdoors in the sun is not necessarily safer than using a tanning bed and shouldn’t be considered as an alternative. In fact, tanning outdoors poses most of the same risks as using tanning beds.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, individuals who use tanning beds increase their chance of developing melanoma by 74 percent compared to people who have never used an indoor tanning bed or booth. That’s because indoor tanning beds expose the skin to UV radiation that damages skin cells.
Premature aging is common among people who spend a great deal of time tanning under the sun or using tanning beds to achieve a darker skin tone. The UV radiation you are exposed to in a tanning salon is what leads to the most common signs of premature aging, including wrinkles, lax skin and sun spots. Avoiding tanning beds completely, using a high-quality UVA/UVB sunscreen as directed by the manufacturer and avoiding the hottest parts of the day are the best ways to combat premature aging caused by UV radiation.
Squamous and Basal Cell Carcinoma
While melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and claims the greatest number of lives, squamous and basal cell carcinomas can be a result of using tanning beds for a prolonged period of time. These types of skin cancer don’t normally spread to other parts of the body, but they do need to be treated and removed, which is a procedure nobody wants to go through.
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Skin Cancer Foundation Staff; Tanning: The Dangers of Tanning; Skin Cancer Foundation; accessed August 29, 2013
Cassidy, Meg; Tanning Beds: Skin Cancer Kills; Women’s Health; accessed August 29, 2013