March 28, 2014

5 Reasons to Avoid Tanning Beds

We know how damaging the sun’s rays can be, but there’s a common misconception that tanning beds are safer because they emit a higher concentration of the “browning” UVA rays than the “burning” UVB ones. In fact, tanning beds accelerate the sun’s effects by three times. And the long-term effects range from premature aging to terminal cancer.

Here are few reasons to avoid tanning beds:

  • They can make you look older.
    Overexposure to both UVA and UVB rays speed up your skin’s aging process, causing an increase in wrinkles and leathery skin. Exposure to the UV rays breaks down your skin’s elastin and collagen fibers, leading to sags and folds. You mat not see the damaging effects for years, which puts young people particularly at risk, since they may not recognize the problem until it’s too late.
  • They can damage your eyes.
    Even with goggles, studies show you have an increased chance of developing cataracts, and causing retinal damage and macular degeneration.
  • They can weaken your immune system.
    Overexposure to sun – both natural and artificial –  can weaken your body’s immune system. UV radiation can heighten your sensitivity to sun, ability to fight basic viruses and the effectiveness of your immunizations. For example, someone with herpes might find a flare-up or frequent cold sores, even if they’re taking maintenance medication.
  • They can interact with medications.
    If you’re taking any prescription medication, such as antibiotics, birth control pills or even topical skin ointments, using a tanning bed could lead to cosmetic or drug-induced sensitivity, effectively increasing the effects of the UV exposure.
  • They can increase your cancer risk. 
    Studies show that UV rays can lead to three different types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, which kills more than 8,000 people every year. The lifetime melanoma risk is 75 percent greater for those who use tanning booth regularly before the age of 30.

Need a physician or specialist? Our Baptist Health Physician Referral Service can help you find a physician near you. Go to for more information.

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