Myths & Facts
Beauty Myths and Ugly Truths
Before you roll your eyes and think “tanning is not a big deal”, you should get the real facts from real sources. For instance: Use of tanning equipment before the age of 35 increases your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75%.1 Here are some things you should know before you decide to use a tanning bed:
Tanning Myth: Tanning is healthy.
Tanning Myth: A base tan is adequate protection from getting burned
It has been estimated that an indoor tan offers the sun protection factor (SPF) of only
2 - 4, which is not adequate sun protection.23 A base tan is created only at the expense of further skin damage, some of which will be permanent and additive damage to DNA. Such a tan is outweighed by the damage caused while acquiring it.45 The protection created is mainly an illusion of protection. An SPF of 30 is the minimum sunscreen recommended, and most dermatologists recommend even higher SPFs.
Tanning Myth: Tanning is safe in moderation.
Studies have shown that tanning can be addictive. It causes a release of endorphins in your brain—the same reaction that heroine, cocaine and methamphetamine trigger.6 That's why what starts as a one-time thing can turn into an all-the-time thing.
Tanning Myth: Tanning beds are a safe way to get Vitamin D.
Tanning beds are NOT a safe way to get your vitamin D. Why increase your risk of skin cancer when taking a vitamin D supplement is safer and cheaper?
Tanning Myth: Artificial tanning is safer than outdoor tanning because it’s in a controlled environment.
Artificial tanning is more dangerous than the sun. Some tanning beds emit 10-15 times more UVA radiation than the midday sun.7 That means eight minutes in a bed is like 1-2 hours on a beach. And you’re not wearing sunscreen.
1 IARC working group on Artificial Ultraviolet (UV) light and skin cancer . “The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: A systematic review,” 2006, International Journal of Cancer. (120), 1116.
2 European Commission, Health and Consumer Protection Directorate‐General, Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, Opinion on Biological Effects of Ultraviolet Radiation Relevant to Health with Particular Reference to Sunbeds for Cosmetic Purposes (2006), 6.
3 Agar N, & Young AR. 2005. Melanogenesis: a photoprotective response to DNA damage? Mutation Research. 571(1-2):121-32.
4 Report Of The Indoor Tanning Working Group (ITWG). 2011. http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/2011/ITWG-Report.pdf
5 Sheehan, J. M., Potten, C. S. and Young, A. R. (1998), Tanning in Human Skin Types II and III Offers Modest Photoprotection Against Erythema. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 68: 588–592.
6 Harrington, C.R., Beswick, T.C., Leitenberger, J., Minhajuddin, A., Jacobe H.T., Adinoff, B. Addictive-like behaviours to ultraviolet light among frequent indoor tanners. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. 2010 (36):33-38
7 Gerber B, Mathys P, Moser M, et al. (2002). Ultraviolet emission spectra of sunbeds. Photochem Photobiol, 76:664–668.