GentleCure Blog

Facts & Myths About Tanning & Risks of Skin Cancer

Is tanning good for you? No, there is no safe method of tanning that’s good for your body. While a tan is often associated with a healthy appearance, tanning is anything but healthy. Whether you’re tanning outside or in a tanning bed, tanning causes damage to your skin and increases your risk of developing skin cancer. Below, GentleCure sheds light on some of the facts and myths of tanning, and why it’s important to know the risks involved. 

Common Tanning Myths That Have Been Disproven 

MYTH: Tanning beds are safer than tanning outdoors. 

FACT: According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, indoor tanning can greatly elevate your risk of developing skin cancer. In fact, because of the associated risks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires warning labels on indoor tanning equipment. What’s more, the Skin Cancer Foundation says that, “there are more skin cancer cases due to indoor tanning than there are lung cancer cases due to smoking.” 

Developing skin cancer from tanning beds is more common than many people realize. The rates of UV exposure in tanning beds are up to 10 to 15 times higher than the sun at its peak intensity. And, because tanning bed bulbs use UVA light, which has been closely linked with aging, using a tanning bed may lead to premature skin aging. There are nearly no tanning bed benefits that outweigh the damage they can cause.

MYTH: A tan is a sign that you’re healthy. 

FACT: Every time you tan, your skin is exposed to UV radiation, and your skin releases melanin (pigment that gives skin its color) to absorb UV light and prevent further damage. UV radiation is a carcinogen, because it causes skin cancer. A tan is actually visual evidence of DNA injury to the skin. This injury results in mutations in proto-oncogenes (a gene involved in normal cell growth) and tumor suppressor genes. Damaging the DNA in your skin from too much UV exposure increases your chance of getting skin cancer. The damage begins with your first tan and increases over time, causing more genetic mutations to your DNA and putting you at greater risk. Avoiding tanning is one of the best ways to protect your skin and prevent unhealthy and unsightly damage caused by ultraviolet light.

MYTH: Getting a base tan will prevent sunburn. 

FACT: It’s misinformation that getting a base tan will prevent sunburn. You can still burn, whether you have a tan or not. 

MYTH: You can get vitamin D from using a tanning bed. 

FACT: This is a myth for two reasons. First, tanning beds use bulbs that emit UVA light; you need UVB light to create vitamin D. Second, dermatologists recommend eating a healthy diet or taking supplements — not tanning — to get vitamin D. 

MYTH: Tanning can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 

FACT: There is no evidence to suggest that tanning helps with SAD. UV light, however, has been proven to be harmful. 

Stay Informed with GentleCure

Misinformation about tanning has been spread for many years, but knowing the dangers of tanning based on scientific studies and statistics can help reduce your risk of sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer, contact us online or call us to learn more about surgery-free Image-Guided SRT.

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