The dangers of tanning beds

Local News

It’s prom season and many teens want to get a dark, sun kissed glow to go along with their new prom dress or tux… but is it safe?  

Experts say a tan from an artificial light source, like a tanning bed, is just as damaging as a tan from the sun, sometimes even more so. That’s why it’s important to talk with teens about tanning. We discussed the issue and what parents can do about it  with Dr. Heather Edgley of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. 

Tanning prematurely ages your skin, causes wrinkles and may even lead to skin cancer. If you have tanned in the past you already have skin damage, even if you can’t see it yet.  

Both tanning outside and in a tanning bad are damaging. The sun’s rays contain UVA & UVB rays. Tanning beds use UVA light, which penetrates the skin more deeply. The concentration of UVA rays from a tanning bed is greater than the amount of UVA a person gets from the sun.

A spray tan or self-tanners are safer than a tanning bed.

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips:

  • Always wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15. (Apply often when outdoors)
  • Avoid tanning beds.
  • Seek shade during the hours of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

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