The Dangers of Indoor and Outdoor Tanning in 2021

dangers of indoor and outdoor tanning

DYK, indoor tanning causes more skin cancer than smoking causes lung cancer? Tanning is similar to smoking in that it's effects are cumulative. This means, even infrequent use of tanning beds might have significant implications.

A tanning bed's high concentration of UV radiation can lead to unsightly dark patches, wrinkles, and scaly skin. Itching, peeling, and flaking are common side effects when a sunburn or tan starts to fade. Consequently, picking at your skin can leave scars if you're not careful. Despite what people think, there is no such thing as a safe UV tan, no matter where you receive it.

“Tanning beds mainly emit UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB and are primarily responsible for tanning and skin aging”
- SkinCancer.org 

What causes tanning?

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning beds causes genetic damage to the skin's outermost layer of cells, which results in tan formation. Melanin is produced as a defense mechanism by the skin, resulting in darkening of the area...which we refer to as a tan.

What's at risk here?

Your Health

By the age of 70, one in every five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer. Indoor tanning is one of the major causes of skin cancer.

Your Outward Appearance
Your skin will look older as a result of sun exposure. It's a tell-tale sign of damage since it causes wrinkles, black patches, and pale skin to appear faster.
If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, you run the danger of subsequent, sometimes unpleasant, changes to your look.

Facts and dangers about tanning

It all starts with your first tan. With each tanning session, the accumulated damage increases, resulting in additional genetic changes and an elevated level of risk. Indoor tanning has significant health dangers, and the simplest way to avoid them is simply to not do it.

To prevent the risks of tanning, learn to love your skin's natural tone. However, there are several sunless tanning products available. It's easy to get the "glow" of sun-kissed skin without putting your health at risk. Even skin that has been sunburned is already damaged. The age or skin type of the wearer makes no difference. Despite acquiring a "base tan" to protect yourself from sunburn, you are still doing long-term damage to your skin. As a result, you're also at an elevated risk for skin cancer.

There are no advantages to using a tanning bed that outweigh the dangers of exposure to UV light. Indoor tanning can harm your skin permanently and increase your risk of skin cancer. It doesn't matter if you conduct your tanning outside or inside; it's harmful either way. Make sure you are using a broad-spectrum, zinc-based sunscreen outdoors and reapply every two hours.

Why do people still tan their skin in 2021?

People believe that tanning has advantages like better attractiveness, enhanced mood, and advanced vitamin D levels.  According to NIH.gov, “Exposure to sunlight has been linked to improved energy and elevated mood." This factoid could contribute to people's perceptions of a tan being healthy in some way. It's absolutely fine to enjoy time in the sun but it's excessive exposure (such as tanning) and not using proper sun protection that is extremely dangerous. 

Vitamin D levels have been linked in association studies to protect against numerous internal cancers and other disease states. Cutaneous UV exposure, however, is not required to obtain vitamin D, and non-carcinogenic sources are preferable. Due to the great frequency of indoor and outdoor tanning, it is a public health priority to teach about associated hazards and to better prevent skin cancer.


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