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About Indoor Tanning
Using a tanning bed, booth, or sunlamp to get tan is called indoor tanning. Indoor tanning can cause skin cancers including melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer), basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation also can cause cataracts and cancers of the eye (ocular melanoma).
Dangers of Indoor Tanning
Indoor tanning exposes users to two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer. Indoor tanning is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin indoor tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have a higher risk of getting melanoma. This may be due to greater use of indoor tanning among those who begin tanning at earlier ages.
Every time you tan you increase your risk of getting skin cancer, including melanoma. Indoor tanning also—
- Causes premature skin aging, like wrinkles and age spots.
- Changes your skin texture.
- Increases the risk of potentially blinding eye diseases, if eye protection is not used.
Facts About Indoor Tanning
Tanning indoors is not safer than tanning in the sun.
Indoor tanning and tanning outside are both dangerous. Although indoor tanning devices operate on a timer, the exposure to UV rays can vary based on the age and type of light bulbs. Indoor tanning is designed to give you high levels of UV radiation in a short time. You can get a burn from tanning indoors, and even a tan indicates damage to your skin.
A base tan is not a safe tan.
A tan is the body’s response to injury from UV rays. A base tan does little to protect you from future damage to your skin caused by UV exposure. In fact, people who indoor tan are more likely to report getting sunburned.
The best way to protect your skin from the sun is by using these tips for skin cancer prevention.
Indoor tanning is not a safe way to get vitamin D.
Although it is important to get enough vitamin D, the safest way to do so is through what you eat. Tanning harms your skin, and the amount of UV exposure you need to get enough vitamin D is hard to measure because it is different for every person and also varies with the weather, latitude, altitude, and more.