As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog, when it comes to your skin, tanning beds are not less damaging than the sun. Exposing your skin to the UV light in tanning beds is just as harmful as exposing it to the sun’s UV rays. We’re sure you’ve also seen the recent “skin cancer selfie” story that has went viral – serving as a testament to the connection between tanning and melanoma.
In case this information wasn’t enough to deter you from indoor tanning, new health concerns with indoor tanning are arising. In recent news, medical professionals are claiming that tanning beds can be linked to viruses such as staphylococcus bacteria, fecal bacteria, herpes virus, and wart-causing human papillomavirus. According to Yahoo Beauty, Dermatologist Dawn Marie Davis, MD, an associate professor of dermatology and pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic, expressed that “bacteria and virus can survive in tanning beds, despite the heat.”
According to Davis, ‘We all have bacteria on the skin, which you’ve transferred to the bed. Then it’s being heated, but not so much to kill [the bacteria], then it becomes stronger and hardier,” Davis says. “Then if you sweat, that only adds to the bacteria or virus’s ability to grow, and then if you have a nick or cut in your skin, which is very common, then you’re much more likely to acquire the infection.” (Source: Yahoo Beauty)
In addition, government representatives are cracking down even further on tanning companies. Specifically, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently filed a lawsuit against two indoor tanning chains for making false health claims related to indoor tanning. (Source: New York Times) We’ve also seen in recent years the legal age for one to tan indoors rise from state to state.
In sum, more and more red flags are arising when it comes to indoor tanning, aside from the already known connections to skin damage and melanoma.
For skin safety, take our advice: As the weather gets warmer, don’t turn to tanning beds to build a “base tan” or achieve a glow. Instead, practice safe sun with environmental protection and remember to do regular skin examinations at home.