Indoor Tanning: Is It Safe?

What is indoor tanning?

When people use a tanning bed or booth or a sunlamp to tan, it is called indoor tanning. For indoor tanning, artificial ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) lights are used instead of sunlight to tan the skin.

Is Indoor Tanning Safe?

People may believe that a tan makes them look good and that a tan makes them look “healthy.” But recent research has found that exposure to tanning bed light is not as safe as it might seem.

Light from a tanning machine can cause skin cancer. Tanning devices are linked to basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and the most severe type of cancer, melanoma. Indoor tanning, especially if used before the age of 35, increases your risk for all of these types of skin cancer.

And indoor tanning hurts you in other ways, too. May:

  • Cause skin damage, including wrinkles, at an earlier age than normal.
  • Weaken the immune system .
  • Damage the eyes.
  • Cause a rash, if sensitive to sunlight.

Are children and adolescents at special risk?

Most of us have stayed in the sun for too long and burned at some point in life. But when this happens in childhood or adolescence, it can increase the risk of melanoma later on.

And because of the risk of skin cancer, medical specialists recommend that people 18 and under not use indoor tanning at all. Some states have legally prohibited people 18 and under from going to indoor tanning salons.

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