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  • Writer's pictureSkin Guru

Tanning Beds Are Worse Than You Thought

MYTH: Tanning beds are safer than outdoor tanning because it's less time. MYTH: Before going on a vacay, you should get a base tan from a tanning bed. MYTH: Using a tanning bed juuuust a few times won't to do anything in the long run.

While tanning bed use is on a significant decline (which is ah-mee-zing), there are still plenty of people who falsely believe that using a tanning bed is a good idea. 

Worse than natural sunlight. Not all light exposure is the same. Tanning beds can emit 12 times (that's 1,100%) more UVA light than natural sunlight. Can't quite remember the difference between UVA, UVB, and UVC? We forgive you!

Here's a crash course on the different types of rays and what they do:

As you can see, UVA rays are responsible for causing melanoma, which is widely-regarded as the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Because it can spread fast and far in the body, melanoma is dangerous and deadly. A few minutes in a tanning bed might not seem like much, but increasing your UVA exposure by over 1,000% is NOT something you want to do. 

The risk in numbers. One study paints an alarming image of the strong correlation between melanoma and tanning bed use. Researchers studied 63 women who had been diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 30. Of the 63 women, 61 of them said they had used a tanning bed at least once in their life. That's nearly 97%!!! [1]

Just once won't hurt. YES IT WILL. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just one (single, solitary, uno) tanning bed session will increase your risk of melanoma by 20%!!

Tanning beds & premature aging. Not only are UVA rays responsible for melanoma, they also cause premature aging in the form of wrinkles, dark spots, and thickened, leathery skin. We don't need to tell you why you don't want that. 

Alternatives to tanning beds:

  1. Fake it. Sunless tanning lotions are popular and much more advanced than in the old days of orange palms and streaky lines. However, be very wary that many sunless tanning lotions contain toxic chemicals that can disrupt hormones. We recommend using the Think Dirty app to find a safe sunless tanner. NKD SKN brand sunless tanning products consistently have a 0 rating (safest) from Think Dirty.

  2. Skip it altogether! We think you're beautiful just the way you are. Whether your skin is white as a ghost, black as night, or anything in between, you should feel free to flaunt it just the way it is! 🌈

[1] Lazovich D, Vogel RI, Weinstock MA, et al. Association between indoor tanning and melanoma in younger men and women. JAMA Dermatol 2016; 152(3): 268–275. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.2938

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