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A man inside a tanning bed, glowing orange and pink with several irregular moles on his arms.

Tanning Beds, Don’t Be Fooled

Indoor tanning beds are dangerous. Look it up. This is true according to the American Cancer Society, the Skin Cancer Foundation, the American Academy of Dermatology, the Food and Drug Administration, and many other governmental agencies, nonprofits, independent organizations, and the scientific community as a whole. Even the World Health Organization has stated that indoor tanning lamps have cancer-causing agents in the same class as tobacco.1

“News” and advertisement of tanning beds

Maybe you already knew this. Some people are trying to trick you into believing otherwise. I was skimming the internet yesterday and ran across what I thought to be a news story. The “news story” was pushing the idea that safe, indoor tanning was a great way to get a base tan before heading to tropical destinations for a winter vacation. It quoted the manager of an indoor tanning establishment stating that tanning in moderation was safe as long as you don’t “overdo” it and that you should begin today at their place of business.

Advertising despite the danger

Hogwash. I looked at the “news story” again and saw that it was actually sponsored content. It was an advertisement made to look like actual news. Shameful! I support small, local businesses that sell products and services that are beneficial to my community, but this was not beneficial. And, as a melanoma survivor, I am appalled by any business that would seek financial benefit at the expense of the very customers it serves, through trickery and deception.

Health and wellness and tanning beds?

As if that was not enough, I then found this article. I will sum this up for everyone. This article is based on a new study from the University of Connecticut that was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open. According to the study, many popular gym chains also provide their own tanning beds. In fact, over 78% of the gyms contacted in the study listed indoor tanning as a featured benefit of a gym membership.2

The mixed message of fitness and tanning

At best, this seems like a mixed message. Come get the amazing benefits of cardio fitness, resistance training, yoga, healthy smoothies, but don’t be concerned about the dangerous tan. This is precisely the message that I bought in to, a long time ago. I equated health and fitness with a tan. It was as if my pumped up physique was not complete without an unhealthy “glow”. I learned the hard way that a healthy glow was my natural skin tone, just as everyone’s is. I learned to be comfortable in my own skin.

Parsing out the truth of tanning dangers

Whether it be misleading advertising that looks to be news-ish or businesses peddling health and wellness along with dangerous tanning practices, the old adage applies, “caveat emptor”, “let the buyer (or in this case ‘tanner’) beware”. Educated, sophisticated consumers in the marketplace are required to parse this out. This is precisely why I lobbied in the New York State Senate to protect minors from being taken advantage of in the tanning industry. There are those in our community who are simply unaware of the pitfalls of tanning beds.

Not worth the risk of skin cancer

As you prepare for your cruise, beach vacation in Florida, or your cousin’s wedding, remember that your “base” tan is baseless. Any tan is bad for your skin and a sign of sun damage, and that damage cannot be reversed. Skin cancer is nothing to be trifled with, ever. Don’t be fooled.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SkinCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Dangers of Indoor Tanning. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/awareness-dangers-tanning
  2. Assessment of Tanning Beds in 3 Popular Gym Chains. JAMA Network Open. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2757872?utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_term=122019

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