5 Tanning Bed Myths Debunked!

The only safe tan is the one you get from a bottle of self-tanner. Tanning causes loss of collagen and elastin, fine lines and wrinkles, sun spots and cancer, yet many people continue to do it. They argue they look better with a tan, which may be true in the short run, but any change in your genetic skin colour is a sign that your skin is damaged.

And all this damage will pretty soon show up on your skin, causing you to age prematurely and increasing your risk of getting skin cancer. And that’s true whether you get a tan from the sun or from tanning beds. Although tanning beds have been classified as known carcinogenic, there are still many misconceptions about them around which may make you think they’re safe to use, and thus put yourself and your skin at risk.

Let’s debunk a few of them, shall we?

Myth #1: The UV light emitted by tanning beds is less dangerous than the UV light from the sun

The sun emits both UVA and UVB rays. The light emitted by tanning beds is 98% UVA because that’s what causes skin to tan. However, this doesn’t mean that tanning beds are safer. UVB rays cause sunburn, which is bad enough, but UVA rays are more damaging. Both are mutagenic, which means they can cause the production of abnormal skin cells and, as a result, cancer, but UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin. In addition, UVA rays also cause fine lines, wrinkles and brown spots. And this damage is cumulative. The more you tan, the worse you’ll look and the faster you’ll age.

Myth #2: Skin cancer is caused by sunburn, not tanning

While it is true that getting a few bad sunburns can increase your risk of getting skin cancer, the same is also true for people who use tanning beds, whether they get a sunburn or simply tan. In fact, the use of tanning beds is associated with a 75% increase in melanoma. Even people who tan but have never sunburned can get skin cancer. It’s cumulative exposure to UV radiation, whether from indoor or outdoor tanning, that causes cancer. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause mutations to cellular DNA, leading to premature aging and cancer. And tanning beds are particularly bad because your skin is very, very close to the source of UV rays, so you’re getting a more concentrated dose.

Myth #3: Using tanning beds is safe if you use sunscreen

If only! As mentioned above, any changes in your skin colour is a sign that your skin is damaged. While a broad-spectrum sunscreen can greatly reduce the damage, it can’t completely prevent it. And don’t think that “protective” tanning oils are any better. Actually, they’re worse. They will prevent the UV rays from drying out your skin, but they don’t offer any UV protection at all.

Myth #4: Tanning beds are a good way to get your Vitamin D dose

Again, not true. It’s the UVB rays that stimulate the production of Vitamin D in the body and, as I’ve mentioned above, the UV light emitted by tanning beds is composed primarily of UVA. Therefore, you will get hardly any Vitamin D from tanning beds. But even if tanning beds could stimulate Vitamin D production, it still wouldn’t be a good reason to use them. Tanning only injures skin and why should you get your Vitamin D dose from something that’s bad for you when you can get it safely from food?

Myth #5: It’s safe to use tanning beds only occasionally

Nope! Tanning is never safe! End of.

Now you really have no excuse to keep using tanning beds. Remember, it’s never too late to stop damaging your skin further!

Do you use tanning beds?

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  1. Janessa says

    I am so glad that you promote safe and logical beauty! It is so important that everyone knows the harm they do when tanning and I wasn’t ever told it was bad. I watched beauty videos for many years and they never say to apply sunscreen first before primer and makeup. Worse, they say to keep your darker foundation for when you tan in the summer! Grr. Thanks, Gio. You really are wonderful and along with all the smart, beautiful women and men who share knowledgeable facts.

    I just submitted my portfolio for animation today! :] I’ll let you know how things go! I also received tons of packages in the mail today along with Armani She and Ole Henriksen skincare. I’m going to mail you a lip exfoliator and balm since that shouldn’t irritate your skin or worry you one bit. I’m going to ship out your package this Monday and even if it arrives past Christmas (which I hope it doesn’t), it is still your holiday gift.

    Darcy proposed! I’m at that part and she’s reading the letter. :3

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Janessa, aww thank you so much for your kind words. It is such a shame that there are still so many people that don’t realize how dangerous tanning and not wearing sunscreens are. Hopefully this blog will help to make even a bunch of them realize that and change their bad habits.

      Good luck with that! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! How do you like Armani She?
      And thank you so much for that, you’re too good to me *hugs*

      That’s such a bittersweet part! I fell completely in love with Darcy when reading that.

      • Janessa says

        :] I just looked up the official name and it’s ‘Emporio She’ hehe. It smells really light and seems a bit faint and airy (though it’s actually concentrated) at all and that’s what allows me to do more than one spray on, let’s say, my neck and hair. Since it smells so light, I can smell it forever and it’s like I don’t have enough of it. That aspect also makes it lovely from start to finish; there’s no dry-down time or fading within hours to different notes. It’s a tad spicy and BARELY sweet (like a drop of vanilla in a cup of water). I don’t know exactly how long it lasts yet but it lasts many hours. I don’t even know what all the notes smell like but yes, I love it! :] Can’t wait for Seville a L’Aube!

        • beautifulwithbrains says

          Janessa, what a lovely description. I’m glad you like it. The spicy but airy bit really intrigues me and I don’t mind subtle scents as the subtleness makes them wearable (unless they’re so subtle you can’t smell them of course lol). Next time I go beauty shopping, I’ll give it a sniff.

  2. says

    I do hope you get a lot of hits for this post. So important! Since last Spring you have to be at least 18 to go to a tanning salon in my Province so I guess it’s a start but I cringe everytime I see one. I can’t believe they still exist! :(
    Icaria´s last blog post ..Beautiful CompactsMy Profile

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Icaria, thank you. I agree, that’s a start, but it’s a shame that there are still so many people willing to put their health at risk like this. *sighs*

  3. Lily says

    I’ve never used a tanning bed.

    I’m sick and tired of the tanning obsession. Especially the people who can’t fathom the fact that I’m happy with being pale. I think fake tans are very unattractive, but I wouldn’t say “you ought to drop that and become paler”

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Lily, good for you. And I can so relate to that. I have pale skin too and people always comment on it, especially in the summer. I live in a coastal town and everyone in the summer just rushes to the beach whenever they can. When I tell them I don’t like a tan, that I want my skin to stay fair and that sunbathing is bad for you, they look at me like if I were crazy.

      And I agree with you that fake tan is unattractive, but saying so to someone would be rude. After all, we all have the right to use whatever products and wear whatever look we like, without being made to feel ugly because of it.

      • Lily says

        I live in Scandinavia. Not an area of Europe known for its glorious weather! So it just makes the whole thing even stranger (or maybe more understandable).

        It would indeed be very rude.

        • beautifulwithbrains says

          Oh well, at least you’re going to age better than someone who lives somewhere where it’s always sunny and hot. I guess people always want what they can’t have really and it’s kinda sad.

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