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Tanning Bed Myths and Safety

5 Tanning Myths You Can't Afford to Believe

Despite the fact that tanning beds have now been classified as known carcinogens, people continue to risk developing melanoma just for a fake bake. Today, the 10 percent tanning tax goes into effect, so we wanted to break apart some persistent myths about tanning beds. Manhattan-based dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman has the straight facts on what tanning can and can't do. To see if you're in the know, just keep reading.

Myth 1: Getting a base tan is good, because it protects your skin.
"A base tan isn't safer," Dr. Jaliman says. "Anytime you're tanning, you're damaging skin because you're producing melanin that shouldn’t be there to begin with. If you're changing your genetic skin color, you're damaging your skin."

Myth 2: Newer "high UVA" tanning beds are less damaging.
"No tanning bed is less dangerous," according to Dr. Jaliman. "They are all dangerous and will all cause skin cancer."


Myth 3: Light from a tanning bed is the same as sunlight.
Not at all, Dr. Jaliman says. "UV rays in tanning beds are 98 percent UVA rays," she explains. "UV rays from sun are both UVA and UVB. UVB are the burning rays, and UVA are the rays that penetrate deep into skin, damaging collagen, elastic tissue, causing skin cancer, and also changing the pigment in skin, causing melasma and brown spots."

Myth 4: Tanning makes you look better and healthier.

It actually does just the opposite. "Tanning depresses your immune system," Dr. Jaliman explains, "and you therefore are actually at a higher risk of getting sick. It also breaks blood vessels, damages the skin, creating a leathery, rough feel, creates uneven pigmentation, and causes wrinkles."

Myth 5: If you just tan for short periods, it's safe.

Dr. Jaliman's answer for this one? A flat-out "No!"

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
vanityx0kills vanityx0kills 7 years
I used to hate how pale I was, and would spend hours under the sun and tanning beds. Now I know the risks, and now I embrace my paleness.
amber512 amber512 7 years
I've been pale and proud my whole life. I may be as white as a sheet of paper, but at least I won't have that leathery skin look!
AmberHoney AmberHoney 7 years
How's the 10% tax working for everyone? Even though the sun is still free, today any way.
care0531 care0531 7 years
I wish I knew all this years ago! I always thought I looked better with a tan and now I am 32 and dealing with skin issues.
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