Skin cancer isn’t the only thing you can pick up at the tanning salon. Poor cleaning practices can leave you exposed to HPV (human papillomavirus aka genital warts) and a variety of skin infections. Talk about sleeping with the enemy.
There are 10 different types of skin afflictions or microbes that can be transmitted by an unclean tanning bed.30 These can include warts,31 skin rashes,32 flaky discoloured patches,33 HPV and bacteria found in fecal matter.34 What does this mean, besides that tanning beds are pretty gross? Well, if you have any kind of cut or open wound, lying in one of these beds could result in serious skin or other infection.35 So much for that healthy glow.
Health Canada has issued infection control guidelines for tanning salon owners to ensure your tanning bed is properly sanitised before you climb in. Unfortunately, studies in developed countries have shown that tanning beds are only properly sanitized 79% of the time.36 This means you are taking the risk that roughly one out of every five tanning beds you climb into hasn’t been properly cleaned. Feeling lucky?
30 Russak, J. E., & Rigel, D. S. (2010). Tanning bed hygiene: microbes found on tanning beds present a potential health risk. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 62(1), 155-157.
31 Perniciaro C, Dicken CH. (1988). Tanning bed warts. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, March 18(3), 586-587.
32 Ciconte, A., & Bekhor, P. (2007). Lichen striatus following solarium exposure. Australasian Journal of Dermatology, 48(2), 99-101.
33 Kersey, P. W., & Caldwell, I. I. (1983). Sunbeds. British Medical Journal, 286(6366), 720.
34 Russak, J. E., & Rigel, D. S. (2010). Tanning bed hygiene: microbes found on tanning beds present a potential health risk. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 62(1), 155-157.
35 C.D. Owens, K. Stoessel. (2008) Surgical site infections: epidemiology, microbiology and prevention. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 27(2), 199-203.
36 Gavin A. A., Donnelly, C. C., Devlin, A. A., Devereux, C. C., O’Callaghan, G. G., McElwee, G. G., & … O’Hagan, A. H. (2010) Public at risk: a survey of sunbed parlour operating practices in Northern Ireland. British Journal of Dermatology, 162(3), 627-632.