I have seen several anti-tanning articles this week stating that tanning is 10 to 12 times more dangerous than the sun. While I’m not sure what sparked this rash of fear based propaganda. It is just a scare tactic that is overblown and misleading. So let me just say this. Tanning beds do have a more concentrated UV output, which is how you are able to tan in a fraction of the time it would take outdoors. This is nothing new; the tanning industry fully admits that. Now, for some reason the media has decided to focus on that and make it seem more dangerous than tanning outdoors. So let’s look at that closer.
In a tanning salon you are assessed for skin type. Skin type 1 (the fairest type) would be turned away because the risk of burn is too high. That is a responsible practice. A salon would recommend spray tanning or nothing because their goal is to avoid burning their clients. Tanning outdoors is risky for these people too, does the sun turn them away? Any person of any skin type can go outdoors and stay in the sun as long as they want to try to tan their skin. That is risky because it isn’t controlled. There is a science to what the tanning industry does; they take into consideration the client’s skin type, the equipment available, and the frequency of how often a person tans in their salon. So how could that be worse than tanning outdoors? It isn’t, but the media wants to just focus on the fact that tanning beds have a higher UV concentration, but forget to point out there are safety measures in place to keep clients from sunburn. As I’ve said in previous blogs, there is a time limit on how long you stay in a bed depending on equipment and skin type. I can’t stress this enough. The tanning beds may be stronger with UV output, but you are not in the bed as long as time you would be outdoors to get a tan.
The silly scare tactics of the articles I have been seeing are just that, scare tactics. I just hope that people realize that it is overblown and inaccurate way to present how tanning beds work. Don’t buy into the fear. There is nothing wrong with moderation and that is what salons encourage most.