Society perpetuates a myth that tanned skin is beautiful and healthy. Not only is this a misconception, it is a dangerous one. When your skin changes color because of UV exposure, it is a sign of damage. Another dangerous and untrue belief is that indoor tanning is safer that natural sun exposure. The reality is that exposure to UV radiation, from any source, increases your risk of developing cancer, and prematurely ages your skin. Consumers are often subjected to misleading or outright deceptive claims of safety by tanning salons. You may have been told that you won’t sunburn indoors. This is not true; although you are less likely to sunburn in a tanning bed than natural sunlight, it is possible. Even more importantly, this is not related to your risk of developing cancer. Two types of UV rays result in tanning.
- UVB rays mostly affect the surface of skin, and are usually responsible for sunburns.
- UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply. They can cause a tan, but rarely a burn.
- Either type of UV ray damages your skin, injuring the DNA in the cells. This can lead to wrinkles, discoloration, sagging, uneven texture, and, yes – cancer.
Tanning beds produce both types of UV rays, but they usually have a much higher percentage of UVA rays than the sun. That is why you are less likely to burn, but it does not decrease the damage that is being done to your skin. It may actually increase the risk, because you can endure a much higher concentration of harmful UV rays without feeling as if you’ve damaged your skin.
- The IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) lists tanning beds in their highest risk category, “carcinogenic to humans.”
- According to a study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the total UV radiation emitted by a tanning bed may be as much as 10 to 15 times greater than that of the midday sun.
- According to the FDA, risks of indoor tanning include skin cancer, eye damage, immune system repression, allergic reaction, and premature aging.
Don’t risk your skin, vision, and possibly your life. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your skin, a much better solution is cosmetic dermatology. Instead of damaging your skin in the name of beauty, you can improve your health and appearance. Dr. Vivian Bucay believes that healthy skin is beautiful skin, and vice versa. Let her help you love your skin. Call 210-692-3000 and schedule an appointment today.