Friendly Reminder – Tanning Bed Myths

Tanning beds were a major focus for the FDA in 2009 continuing into 2010. The FDA now has a web page dedicated to the risks of indoor tanning. Recently the Federal Trade Commission ordered the International Tanning Association to stop its false advertising about the health benefits and safety of tanning salons. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55% more likely to develop melanoma. As more research is being shown about the dangers of tanning beds, we explain some of the most common tanning bed myths below:

“I can’t get skin cancer from indoor tanning; it is a “safe” tan” FALSE. Indoor tanning beds emit both UVA and UVB rays. In July 2009, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), moved tanning beds into the highest risk category for humans, “carcinogenic”. Exposure to UV rays increases your chance for skin cancer.

“The bulbs don’t emit UVB rays, so I won’t burn” FALSE. Indoor tanning beds emit both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays, often referred to as burning rays, are still emitted in most tanning beds. UVA rays, referred to as aging rays, may cause damage to DNA, linking them directly with the risk of cancer. A sun burn can take up to 48 hours to develop so you may not even know your skin is burned until it is too late.

“Tanning indoors will give me the daily dose of vitamin D” FALSE. Direct sun exposure will increase your Vitamin D levels, however, there are other options to increase your Vitamin D levels in a safe way. Try taking a vitamin D supplement daily; available in pills or drops. A supplement will increase your levels without increasing your risk for cancer.

“But I need to get a base tan before my vacation” FALSE. Having a base tan before your vacation only shows the damage already done to your skin and does not protect you from a sun burn. A tanned skin is one that is already damaged, as your body produces the tan to protect itself from the damaging rays of the sun. If you really want a base tan, apply self tanners, now available in various applications, so the streaks and smells are no longer an issue. Try St Tropez, available in Skinfo, for a natural sun-kissed glow.

“Having a tan makes me feel good about myself” While this may be true, there are other safe ways to get a “tanned look” without putting yourself at a high-level risk for cancer. Use self tanners or bronzers, such as Colorescience Kissed by the Sun Bronzer Brush for a tanned look and know that you are protecting your skin from very serious cancers. This should make you feel great!