Is a tanning bed really safer than the sun? Will indoor tanning help your body make all of the vitamin D it needs? Findings from years of scientific studies have answered these and other burning questions about indoor tanning.
Here are 10 research-backed facts that may surprise you.
- Tanning beds are NOT safer than the sun. Science tells us that there’s no such thing as a safe tanning bed, tanning booth, or sun lamp.
- Tanning — indoors or with the sun — makes your skin age more quickly. Wrinkles, age spots, and loss of skin firmness tend to appear years earlier in people who tan. Anyone who tans can also develop leathery skin, which people who never tan don’t get.
- Using tanning beds can cause a serious injury. In emergency rooms across the United States, people are treated for burns, loss of consciousness, and eye injuries caused by indoor tanning.
- Getting a base tan cannot prevent sunburn. Many people believe that using a tanning bed to get a base tan will prevent sunburn. Absolute myth. If you have a base tan, you can still burn.
- Getting enough vitamin D from tanning beds isn’t possible. You may have heard that your body makes a lot of vitamin D when you use a tanning bed. It doesn’t. The bulbs used in tanning beds emit mostly UVA light; however, your body needs UVB light to make vitamin D.
- Becoming addicted to tanning is a real risk. Growing evidence indicates that tanning can be addictive.
- Tanning (indoors or outside) can make stretch marks more noticeable. The best way to hide stretch marks is with a self-tanner.
- Giving customers “false and misleading information” has been a common practice at tanning salons.
- Looking tan year-round is possible with a self-tanner. Many people say they use tanning beds because they like the way a tan makes them look. A self-tanner offers you a way to look tan without increasing your risk of developing early wrinkles, leathery skin, and skin cancer.
- Quitting (or never starting) indoor tanning can help you live longer. By choosing not to tan, you reduce your risk of getting many types of skin cancer, including melanoma.
It’s never too late to start protecting your skin from the sun and indoor tanning beds. As soon as you do, your body starts to repair some of the damage caused by the UV rays. And that’s a fact.