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The Bed is Dead: 3 Tanning Truths

Think tan skin has a healthier glow? It’s really showing you damage that could be deadly. Whether you seek out the sun or use tanning beds, these truths about tanning could save your life.

1.) Sun Tanning is NOT Healthy.

  • Any color the skin develops is a direct result of DNA damage to the skin cells.
  • DNA damage accumulates and increases your risk of skin cancer.
  • Both burns and tanning (slow accumulation of ultraviolet radiation damage) are strongly linked to skin cancers. Of course, burns are the worst.

2.) You’re NOT Too Young for Melanoma.

  • Malignant melanoma is now the most common cancer in young adults aged 25-29, and second most common in young women aged 30-34.
  • Tanning before age 35 increases your risk of melanoma by nearly 60%.
  • Malignant melanoma is increasing more rapidly than any other cancer.
  • One person dies of melanoma every hour in the U.S.

3. Tanning Beds Are NOT a Safer Option.

  • Tanning beds have been proven to cause skin cancer and are rated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as carcinogenic to humans (highest risk category alongside arsenic, radon, tobacco and asbestos).
  • Tanning beds are far more intense than natural sun exposure (double the UVB and four times the UVA). High-intensity units can have 12-14 times the UVA.
  • Just one indoor tanning session increases risk of melanoma by 20%, and each additional use during the same year boosts risk by another 2%.
  • Of melanoma cases among people under 30 who had tanned indoors, 76 percent were attributable to tanning bed use.

It’s never too soon to turn away from sun tanning and tanning beds. For a healthy glow, give spray tanning and self-tanning preparations a try. These products have not been shown to be carcinogenic.

If you have skin cancer concerns, reach out to your provider.

Debora Quinn, APRN
Debora Quinn, APRN

Deb Quinn, APRN is double board certified as a nurse practitioner in family health and women's health.

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