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You are here: Home > Know Your Skin > Sunscreen & Protection Info > Tanning Beds

The Dangerous Truth About Tanning Beds
 The Tanning Bed Industry

In the 1990’s, there was a tanning bed boom, and there were many misconceptions about how tanning beds work and that they are safer. It is the exact opposite, and there are some simple ways to figure this out on your own. If they were safe, would they recommend you wear special goggles? This is because the rays from the tanning bed can damage your eyes and that includes your skin. People who use tanning beds are 74% more likely to develop melanoma, the most lethal of all skin cancers, than those who have never used them. That’s a staggering fact to swallow. 

Moreover, when you go out to find information on your own, you’ll find there are those who have misconceptions about tanning beds being safer! This was brought on by the tanning bed industry. An article released by the leaders of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce showed that it is routine practice for the tanning industry provided false information about the serious risks of indoor tanning and made erroneous claims about the health benefits that indoor tanning provides. In other words, consumers were being lied to for years, and consider how many people out of that 74% who more likely to develop skin cancer feel about that now. 

Committees involved found that nearly all salons denied knowing the risks of indoor tanning, 4 out of 5 salons made false claims about tanning being beneficial to one’s health, they used various technique’s to minimize the health risks of indoor tanning, they failed to follow FDA recommendations on frequency of tanning and their primary target were young teenage girls. When the facts are when you go to a tanning booth 4 times you increase your risk of developing melanoma by 11%, and 15% for basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. It should be appalling to anyone, to think that an industry would consider being dishonest about informing the public in regards to their risks of skin cancer from such a dangerous machine.

Photo Credit - Erin Vermeer

Here are some staggering facts about tanning booths. Taken from an article on The Skin Cancer Foundation website: 


  • Those who make just 4 visits to a tanning salon per year can increase their risk for melanoma by 11 percent, and their risk for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma by 15 percent.
  • Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is a proven human carcinogen. Currently tanning beds are regulated by the FDA as Class I medical devices, the same designation given elastic bandages and tongue depressors.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices in its Group 1, a list of the most dangerous cancer-causing substances.
  • Group 1 also includes agents such as plutonium, cigarettes, and solar UV radiation 
  • Frequent tanners using new high-pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to the dose they receive from sun exposure. 
  • Ten minutes in a sunbed matches the cancer-causing effects of 10 minutes in the Mediterranean summer sun. 
  • Nearly 30 million people tan indoors in the U.S. every year39; 2.3 million of them are teens. 
  • On an average day, more than one million Americans use tanning salons. 
  • 71% of tanning salon patrons are girls and women aged 16-29. 
  • Indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. 
  • People who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. 
  • The indoor tanning industry has an annual estimated revenue of $5 billion.

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