Indoors or outdoors, there’s no safe way to get a tan. Tanning beds and sun lamps release UV rays that start the tanning process in the skin – just like the sun. Tanned skin is damaged skin. And when the tan fades, the damage is still there.
The Society’s position on indoor tanning
Indoor tanning causes cancer
When you expose your skin to UV rays – whether from the sun, tanning beds or sun lamps – you increase your chances of getting skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer.
It’s also one of the most preventable. To reduce your risk of getting skin cancer, don’t use tanning beds or sun lamps.
The World Health Organization classifies UV-emitting devices, such as tanning beds, as a known carcinogen. And research done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer shows that being exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases your risk of melanoma (skin cancer).
Also, long-term exposure to UV rays causing sunburns from the sun’s rays, tanning beds or sun lamps, can put you at greater risk for non-melanoma or melanoma skin cancers.
Common myths about indoor tanning
Indoor tanning is never safe. These myths can hurt you, so don’t believe them.
“Having a tan is healthy.”
No, it’s not. Tanned skin is damaged skin – it can lead to premature aging and skin cancer. If you have to have that tan, try a sunless tanning cream. Don’t forget that when you’re using a fake tanning product, you still need to use sunscreen when out in the sun.
“My tan protects me from the sun.”
Think again! A tan offers almost no protection from sunlight or burning. Some tanning beds can expose you to 5 times more radiation than the sun. Getting a tan from a tanning bed doesn’t protect you from the sun – it does more harm than the sun. Practise SunSense to protect yourself instead.
“I’ll get my vitamin D by going to the tanning salon.”
Tanning beds are not a safe way to get your vitamin D. It is safer to get it from the sun, supplements and your diet. In the fall and winter, a supplement is a much safer and cheaper way to get your vitamin D.