Is indoor tanning really ‘that bad’? Don’t they emit ‘good rays’?
These are just some of the frequent questions I receive about tanning beds. My answers are yes, it is really is that bad, and those rays can be responsible for skin cancer. Make sure you know your UV rays, because when tanning beds first came out, they were emitting UVA and UVB rays, which are well-known for their skin damage. In fact, UVA beds were the norm and we now know that UVA has been proven to go deeper into the skin, causing melanoma.
Due to the popularity of indoor tanning, a recent study evaluated the role of indoor tanning in the development of melanoma in younger patients (25-50 years old). Their results found that indoor tanning was strongly associated with melanoma in women younger than 30 years, with 61 out of 63 cases in this age range reporting a history of indoor tanning. However, the links between indoor tanning and melanoma in men were less clear, and the study saw a 30% difference between men and women who reported indoor tanning.
Let’s put this bluntly: there are no good rays. In order for these numbers to change, certain mindsets need to be altered as well. Getting tanned before you hit the beach? You’re doing your body a double disservice, especially if you aren’t careful with your sunscreen as well. Unfortunately, many people stay out in the sun so long till they burn, but they don’t recognize that such prolonged exposure to so many rays are increasing your risk of melanoma. If you’re ready to protect your skin, I encourage you to learn how to spot the warning signs of melanoma, and learn how to curb your time at the tanning bed - for many, scaling back does mean baby steps - and it’s never too late to begin.