- There is an ongoing debate about health risks and benefits of tanning beds. According to Vanderbilt University, tanning beds contain 40 percent fewer UVB rays than the sun. Allowing yourself to have controlled exposure to UVA and UVB rays significantly decreases your chances for sunburn. UV radiation also assists in the production of Vitamin D.
- There are many immediate and long-term health risks associated with the use of tanning beds. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and damage skin fibers and ruin elasticity. This damage will cause a leathery appearance of the skin and lead to wrinkles, immune system damage, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Skin burns from UVB rays cause premature aging of the skin, which can lead to malignant melanoma. With repeated exposure to radiation in a tanning bed there is damage to blood vessels and to the cornea and retina of the eye.
- Talk with the tanning bed attendants about proper exposure for your skin type and how often you should tan. Tanning less frequently and for shorter amounts of time can significantly decrease health risks.
Try sunless tanning sprays, lotions or mists. These products do not expose your skin to UV light. This option will also allow you to control how light or dark a tan you would like.
- Never use a tanning bed without eye protection. Do not exceed recommended exposure time in a tanning bed. Talk with your doctor immediately if you think you have been overexposed to UV light. Early detection of possible skin cancer is the best way to ensure a good prognosis.
- A lot of tanning bed users believe a "base tan" is the best way to prevent negative effects of sun exposure. The belief that using a tanning bed to avoid future risks for cancer is invalid. According to Dr. Weinstock of the American Cancer Society, the UV light exposure acts as a radiation multiplier and actually increases the risk for skin cancer.