If you’ve been tanning in a salon before, you’ve heard the way they sell it. They want you to try “tan accelerators” which can cost about $90 per one. You can get a package of various tans so your “skin stays glowing.” They will also tell you that it is smarter to use a bed than to “bake” on the beach. Smart people get sold on this too. So many Americans—almost 30 million—go tanning indoors. That constitutes a $5 billion a year industry. Something tanning companies work hard to maintain. There are a lot of customers who are willing to damage their skin in this way.
Normally, the beauty industry promotes youth and health. But not when it comes to tanning beds. Tanning beds almost guarantee that their tanners will eventually face serious skin problems, some of them harrowing. Melanoma, a deadly skin cancer, that can spread in your body and kill you, is just one of the potential side effects of these dangerous machines. According to David E. Bank, MD, who is a licensed dermatologist, tanning in beds is more dangerous than tanning outdoors because you’re exposed for a greater amount of time to the long wavelength UVA. This damages the skin more deeply.
Employees who work at the salons are told to say it is “smarter” to tan in a tanning bed than outside, not “safer” because the tanning companies know this isn’t true and don’t want to be held liable for such statements. Dr. Bank explains that those who use tanning beds—especially those who use the new, higher pressure sunlamps can receive up to 12 times the yearly UVA dose compared to that of sun exposure. Those who use the beds are 74% more at risk of developing melanoma than those who don’t tan indoors. This is according to The Skin Cancer Foundation.
“Tanorexia” is now considered a disease in some quarters. This novel term refers to people who keep tanning and never feel tan enough. They are addicted to tanning much in the way people are addicted to drugs or alcohol or not eating, always feeling that they are too big.
All polled students who are addicted to tanning said they knew that skin cancer was a risk, but 98% said that didn’t make them not want to use them to become more tan.
Tanning salons don’t turn away people with deep tans or burnt skin, even though they know burnt skin doesn’t tan. Tanning salon employees work on commission, so the more tans and lotions they sell, the more they are paid. They will try to get customers to buy the most expensive tanning lotions, and most of them, when combined with the beds, making tanning even more dangerous. Check Tanning Lotion Information for more info on tanning products.
Sometimes salons will tell people they should tan in a bed first before they go on a vacation where they will receive a lot of sun exposure, telling them it will help protect them from getting sun burned. But the fact is, this won’t help them at all.
Tanning beds are dangerous. Make sure you know all the facts before you try them.