Indoor tanning involves using a tanning bed or booth that emits ultraviolet radiation in order to achieve a cosmetic tan. In recent years, the FDA and the American Academy of Dermatology have found more and more links between indoor tanning and an increased risk of serious health issues like skin cancer. In his latest SlideShare presentation, Dr. Joel Schlessinger answers frequently asked questions about the health risks of indoor tanning.
There are many misconceptions about indoor tanning, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger.
In Western culture, bronzed skin has come to be associated with health and vitality. However, there is nothing healthy about a tan. Tanned skin, whether it is from the sun or an indoor tanning bed, is no different than a sunburn. It means that your skin has sustained cellular damage.
The tanning industry would have you believe that using tanning beds is somehow safer than spending time in the sun. In reality, a tanning bed’s ultraviolet emissions are two to three times stronger than normal sunlight and particularly effective in causing skin cancer!
Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the health issues that can arise from indoor tanning.
Even those who have reported using tanning beds according to industry guidelines have experienced serious health issues. Skin cancer is the number one concern of those who are regularly exposed to natural and artificial UV radiation. Squamous cell carcinoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has been linked to indoor tanning, and the risk of developing melanoma increases 75% if regular tanning sessions occur before the age of 35.
In addition, those who tan frequently are more likely to experience premature signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. Repeated UV radiation exposure may weaken the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to all disease. Tanning can also cause irreversible damage to the eyes, and exposure to contagious viruses and fungi often occurs due to unsanitary tanning bed surfaces.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger reminds us that the only safe tan comes from topical treatments.
Sunless self-tanners are topical products that allow you to build a temporary tan safely over time, and they are the only tanning solution advocated by dermatologists like Dr. Schlessinger. For natural, streak-free color, try jane iredale Tantasia Self Tanner & Bronzer. The formula can be applied daily or weekly for subtle, customizable color. TanTowel Classics are also a convenient way to get a tan, even on the go. These handy towelettes offer gentle exfoliation for smoother, more even application and healthier skin.
Remember, a self-tanner never stands in for a sunscreen. You’ll still need daily SPF protection. Dr. Schlessinger recommends EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen for the face and EltaMD UV Sport Water Resistant Broad Spectrum SPF 50 for the body. These gentle formulas won’t clog pores, exacerbate acne or irritate sensitive skin, and they offer superior protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Do you have a question about the risks of indoor tanning? Let us know in the comments section.