You’re Pale, why no tanning beds?

You're Pale, why no tanning beds?

Cami Deakins, Reporter

During the winter, most people are losing the summer tan that they laid outside for hours to get. So, they turn to tanning beds but why are they bad for you and your skin?


In 2009, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on cancer classified UV tanning beds as Class 1 human carcinogens. Class 1 is the highest risk category. Before, WHO had classified tanning beds as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The Class 1 ranking takes the “probably” out of the statement, leaving “carcinogenic to humans.”


A substantial number of U.S. states have banned indoor tanning by people younger than 18 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other states allow it only with parental permission. In total, the majority of U.S. states currently has some sort of restrictions on indoor tanning.


“I usually like to tan outside under the sun during the summer. During the winter I have used tanning beds even though I know they’re bad for your skin. But I thought the sun was equally as dangerous as tanning beds so I didn’t think anything of it,” said junior Taylor Moss.


Two common myths are: indoor tanning is safer than outdoor tanning and indoor tanning is a safe source for vitamin D however both are false. Research indicates that the intensity of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning beds makes them more dangerous than tanning outside under the sun. Ultraviolet radiation consists of UVA and UVB rays. Both damage skin and can cause skin cancer. Indoor tanning beds expose you to both kinds of rays.


Because of the myths, many states have passed laws regulating indoor tanning in an attempt to protect young people. White, non-Hispanic teenaged girls use tanning beds more than any other group. So, what should you do?


People of all ages should avoid indoor tanning. If you like the look of tanned skin, choose a self-tanning product that contains the active ingredient dihydroxyacetone or DHA. This active ingredient has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is safe to use. You can find self-tanning products in the form of lotions, foams, wipes, and sprays. Most are fast-acting and will give your skin a darker appearance in a matter of a few hours. This “tan” will last about a week.

Do not use indoor tanning as your source for vitamin D. You can get vitamins from a variety of food sources and dietary supplements. Foods that are rich in vitamin D include fish (especially fatty fish), orange juice, milk, and some other dairy products. Many cereals are also fortified with vitamin D.