How Harmful are Indoor Tanning Beds?

More than a million Americans go to tanning salons every day to get serviced. Although indoor tanning beds are designed to give you a beautiful golden brown body, studies have proven it can damage considerable and even predispose a person to skin cancer.


Statistics show that both men and women solicit for indoor tanning. However, non-Hispanics and Caucasians comprise the bigger part of this, and can sometimes be as young as a high school girl.

How Harmful are Indoor Tanning Beds Picture -

A tan, whether from the sun or a tanning bed’s sunlamp, is a skin tone change resulting from exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. .

Increased Cancer Risk

In 2009, indoor tanning was declared “carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It is now sitting in the highest cancer risk category from the previous “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

In its analysis, the IARC linked indoor tanning to two types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma and to the cancer of the eye also called “eye melanoma.”

It is highly dangerous to people who use used tanning beds before they reach age 35, increasing the chance of getting melanoma of the skin by 75 percent. Overall, indoor tanners have a 3 fold chance of developing skin cancer than those who never tried it.

Some people say indoor tanning is safer than a sun tan. There is no truth in that as you are exposed to the same UV rays that the sun gives off. Past studies already proved that the sun’s UV rays can cause skin cancer—meaning you can also get skin cancer from indoor tanning.

Other Negative Effects

Besides melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and eye cancer, indoor tanning can hasten the skin’s aging by wrinkling and reducing elasticity. People who have sensitive skin may get allergic reactions from exposure to Ultraviolet rays. Also, long exposure to UV-B rays can impede the skin’s natural defenses, making you more vulnerable to skin diseases.

Indoor tanning causes 419,000 cases of skin cancer every year in the United States. It equates to almost double the number of lung cancer cases from smoking. Although the development of cancer is a long process that may take many years, the IARC prohibited minors, those under 18 years of age, from tanning.

Today, several states have already banned minors from tanning salons. Different countries in Europe have enforced these bans as well.

Visit our additional resources for more information regarding skin cancer.




Photo By Whatsername [CC-BY-SA-3.0]

Further Reading

  • If you’re one of the many people who head to the beach with plenty of sunscreen and a beach umbrella, you may still need to take extra steps to ward off harmful UV rays. According to a recent study published in the Photochemistry and Photobiology journals, beach umbrellas block out only about 70 percent of UV rays.

  • Mohs surgery has been proven effective for reducing facial scarring after skin cancer surgery, and is quickly becoming the preferred surgery of choice at several cosmetic surgery and dermatology offices around the United States.

  • A new study carried out by the Institute of Cancer Research and published in the Cancer Research journal shows that a genetic mutation found in some forms of malignant melanoma can initiate the development of the deadliest form of skin cancer. The KRAS gene is mutated in approximately two per cent of malignant melanomas, and is the study is the first of its kind to show that damage to this gene can be the first in a process of events that trigger malignant melanoma.