5 Tanning Bed Myths Debunked!

by Gio
5 tanning beds myths busted

“Gio, why don’t you get a tan? You are SO pale.”

If I had a penny for every time someone told me this, I’d be a millionaire. I grew up in sunny Italy, where every summer people rush to the beach to get their tan on… and every winter they resort to tanning beds to top it up.

“You look better with a tan,” they said. But I never bought it. Here’s why: a tan is a sign of sun damage. The price to pay for that beautiful golden hue now is wrinkles, sun spots and cancer a few years down the road.

Even if you use tanning beds. Especially if you use tanning beds. They’ve been long classified as known carcinogenic (unlike parabens – just saying), yet there are so many myths about them that make people think they’re safe.

Let’s debunk the most common – and dangerous – tanning myths, shall we?

Tanning Myth #1: The UV light emitted by tanning beds is less dangerous than the UV light from the sun

The UV light from tanning beds is a little different, I’ll give you that. While the sun emits both UVA and UVB rays, the light emitted by tanning beds is 98% UVA – cos those are responsible for the golden tan you crave. But don’t think that makes them safer. Tanning beds may not put you at risk of sunburn (UVB rays do that), but they do cause all kinds of other harm. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, destroying collagen, elastin and anything else they find in their path. They make you age faster and give you cancer. For the love of your skin, don’t go there.

Related: What’s The Difference Between UVA and UVB Rays?

Tanning Myth #2: Skin cancer is caused by sunburn, not tanning

Again, there’s a hint of truth here: it’s a known fact that getting a few bad sunburns can increase your risk of getting skin cancer. But tanning – whether it comes from the sun or a tanning bed – puts you at risk of cancer, too. Hear this: the use of tanning beds is associated with a 75% increase in melanoma. Why? Cumulative exposure to UV radiation. Damage skin this week, damage it the next and you increase your chances of developing cancer. To add insult to injury, inside a tanning bed, your skin is very, very close to the source of UV rays, so you’re getting a more concentrated dose. That means more damage. Avoid!

Related: How To Treat A Sunburn


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Tanning Myth #3: Using tanning beds is safe if you use sunscreen

If only! Sure, a broad-spectrum sunscreen can greatly reduce the damage from tanning beds. But it CAN’T prevent it completely. And don’t think that “protective” tanning oils are any better. They’re WORSE. They prevent UV rays from drying out your skin, but they offer NO UV protection. None at all.

Related: 6 Things To Look For In A Sunscreen

Tanning Myth #4: Tanning beds are a good way to get your Vitamin D dose

You’ve probably heard we get our vitamin D fix from the sun. That’s true. What no one told you is that we get it from UVB rays. The light from tanning beds is 98% UVA rays, remember? So if that’s why you’re doing it, hard luck. You’ll get hardly any Vitamin D from tanning beds. Get your fix from foods or supplements instead.

Related: Do You Still Get Your Vitamin D Fix If You Use Sunscreen?

Tanning Myth #5: It’s safe to use tanning beds only occasionally

Nope! Tanning is never safe! End of.

Now you really have no excuse to keep using tanning beds. Remember, it’s never too late to stop damaging your skin!

Do you know of any other tanning bed myths that need busting? Share them in the comments below.

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12 comments

Trisha November 30, 2012 - 7:00 pm

I’ve never used a tanning bed, and never plan to. Just not worth the risk!

beautifulwithbrains November 30, 2012 - 8:31 pm

Trisha, good for you! I agree, definitely not worth the risk!

Janessa December 1, 2012 - 3:06 am

I am so glad that you promote safe and logical beauty! It is so important that everyone knows the harm they do when tanning and I wasn’t ever told it was bad. I watched beauty videos for many years and they never say to apply sunscreen first before primer and makeup. Worse, they say to keep your darker foundation for when you tan in the summer! Grr. Thanks, Gio. You really are wonderful and along with all the smart, beautiful women and men who share knowledgeable facts.

I just submitted my portfolio for animation today! :] I’ll let you know how things go! I also received tons of packages in the mail today along with Armani She and Ole Henriksen skincare. I’m going to mail you a lip exfoliator and balm since that shouldn’t irritate your skin or worry you one bit. I’m going to ship out your package this Monday and even if it arrives past Christmas (which I hope it doesn’t), it is still your holiday gift.

Darcy proposed! I’m at that part and she’s reading the letter. :3

beautifulwithbrains December 2, 2012 - 9:48 pm

Janessa, aww thank you so much for your kind words. It is such a shame that there are still so many people that don’t realize how dangerous tanning and not wearing sunscreens are. Hopefully this blog will help to make even a bunch of them realize that and change their bad habits.

Good luck with that! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you! How do you like Armani She?
And thank you so much for that, you’re too good to me *hugs*

That’s such a bittersweet part! I fell completely in love with Darcy when reading that.

Janessa December 2, 2012 - 10:26 pm

:] I just looked up the official name and it’s ‘Emporio She’ hehe. It smells really light and seems a bit faint and airy (though it’s actually concentrated) at all and that’s what allows me to do more than one spray on, let’s say, my neck and hair. Since it smells so light, I can smell it forever and it’s like I don’t have enough of it. That aspect also makes it lovely from start to finish; there’s no dry-down time or fading within hours to different notes. It’s a tad spicy and BARELY sweet (like a drop of vanilla in a cup of water). I don’t know exactly how long it lasts yet but it lasts many hours. I don’t even know what all the notes smell like but yes, I love it! :] Can’t wait for Seville a L’Aube!

beautifulwithbrains December 2, 2012 - 11:27 pm

Janessa, what a lovely description. I’m glad you like it. The spicy but airy bit really intrigues me and I don’t mind subtle scents as the subtleness makes them wearable (unless they’re so subtle you can’t smell them of course lol). Next time I go beauty shopping, I’ll give it a sniff.

Icaria December 1, 2012 - 12:24 pm

I do hope you get a lot of hits for this post. So important! Since last Spring you have to be at least 18 to go to a tanning salon in my Province so I guess it’s a start but I cringe everytime I see one. I can’t believe they still exist! 🙁

beautifulwithbrains December 2, 2012 - 9:49 pm

Icaria, thank you. I agree, that’s a start, but it’s a shame that there are still so many people willing to put their health at risk like this. *sighs*

Lily December 1, 2012 - 3:50 pm

I’ve never used a tanning bed.

I’m sick and tired of the tanning obsession. Especially the people who can’t fathom the fact that I’m happy with being pale. I think fake tans are very unattractive, but I wouldn’t say “you ought to drop that and become paler”

beautifulwithbrains December 2, 2012 - 9:54 pm

Lily, good for you. And I can so relate to that. I have pale skin too and people always comment on it, especially in the summer. I live in a coastal town and everyone in the summer just rushes to the beach whenever they can. When I tell them I don’t like a tan, that I want my skin to stay fair and that sunbathing is bad for you, they look at me like if I were crazy.

And I agree with you that fake tan is unattractive, but saying so to someone would be rude. After all, we all have the right to use whatever products and wear whatever look we like, without being made to feel ugly because of it.

Lily December 5, 2012 - 5:52 pm

I live in Scandinavia. Not an area of Europe known for its glorious weather! So it just makes the whole thing even stranger (or maybe more understandable).

It would indeed be very rude.

beautifulwithbrains December 5, 2012 - 8:12 pm

Oh well, at least you’re going to age better than someone who lives somewhere where it’s always sunny and hot. I guess people always want what they can’t have really and it’s kinda sad.

Comments are closed.