Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless. This is not true. Tanning lamps give out UVA and frequently UVB rays as well. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause serious long-term skin damage, and both contribute to skin cancer. Because of these dangers, many health experts advise people to avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.

World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer reports the use of ultraviolet tanning beds increases the risk of cancer by 75 percent if used before the age of 30. The WHO has also upgraded the cancer risk posed by tanning beds from likely to definite.

Research indicates that “tanned skin (even a slow and steady base tan) is damaged skin. It is particularly harmful to teens. Demko (2003) surveyed 7,000 teenagers and found that indoor tanning among white teenagers is significant, with 30% to 40% of 16 to 18-year-old white females using tanning booths, many of them repeatedly. Continued use of a tanning bed or sunlamp is especially dangerous for teenagers because they are still experiencing tremendous growth at the cellular level and the skin cells are dividing more rapidly than they do during adulthood (Fox as cited in Rados, 2005).

(Click on our prevention steps for more information)

Cover up.

Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.

Read the labels.

Be sure to apply the sunscreen properly.

Be generous with sunscreen.

Wear a hat.

Wear sunglasses that block UV rays.

Limit direct sun exposure during midday.

Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps.