No matter the season, there are people who desire to have sun-kissed, bronze skin without considering the risk of skin damage and other negative effects of tanning. Have you spent hours at a time laying out in the sun, or frequently visiting salons to take advantage of the tanning beds? No matter which tanning method you’ve opted for, all have potential risks—with some much more dangerous than sunburn.
Premature Skin Aging
Photoaging is the premature aging of skin due to unprotected exposure to both ultraviolet (UV) radiation and artificial UV sources. This means that tanning from both natural sunlight and tanning beds can contribute to aging skin.
Those who tan frequently often appear older in age than they are, as the skin has suffered a significant amount of damage. Photoaging can result in deep folds and wrinkles, dark spots and a leathery skin texture—which take a great amount of effort to reverse. And depending on how severely your skin is damaged, these imperfections can be permanent.
Infections and Harmful Bacteria
For those who enjoy using tanning beds, or have tried them before, have you considered how clean the booth itself is? Even if your preferred salon cleans their tanning beds frequently, they may not be sanitizing them properly—or enough.
Unfortunately, a lack of proper sanitation can leave harmful bacteria and viruses behind on surfaces such as tanning beds. Herpes, impetigo and HPV are just a few that have been discovered in tanning booths—potentially spreading to those who encounter them. The only way to avoid getting these infections and viruses from tanning beds is to simply stop using them.
Both indoor tanning and tanning with natural sunlight increase the risk of developing skin cancer. And while most people think that your skin is only harmed if you have sunburn, the truth is that tanned skin is damaged skin.
Excessive amounts of direct sunlight can overexpose your skin to harmful UV radiation. This UV radiation damages your cellular DNA, resulting in mutations that can develop into skin cancer. But sunlight isn’t the only tanning method that contains harmful UV rays—indoor tanning is actually worse for your skin—even though a common misconception is that tanning beds deliver less harmful radiation than natural sunlight. But a study in 2014 found that in the US alone, over 419,000 cases of skin cancer were attributed to indoor tanning, with over 6,100 diagnosed as melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Avoid Skin Damage from Tanning
Everyone experiences sunburn in their lifetime, therefore, a few incidents shouldn’t cause immediate concern. However, if you notice significant changes in your skin—especially if you tan frequently or have a higher risk of skin cancer due to genetics—contact a dermatologist.
To prevent sun damage on your skin, make sure you’re using a daily moisturizer that contains SPF—even on cloudy days! And if you’re going to be exposed to the sun for a long period of time, be sure to frequently apply a high-grade sunscreen to prevent sunburn and long-term damage.
To schedule a skin exam, or be consulted on our skin care products and learn how to get tan safely, call Anders Dermatology in Toledo, Ohio, at 419.473.3257! Plus, you can take a look at our specials page for monthly deals on our cosmetic services.