The Regimen

The Trouble With Tanning Beds

The Trouble With Tanning Beds

Because it’s National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we take aim at this supreme foolishness

Tanning beds are the worst idea ever. Even if you’re okay with rapidly aging your skin, we’re guessing you’re not okay with damaging your DNA in ways that can lead to skin cancer.


You only go once or twice a year to get ready for a big date or an event? That’s enough to do some serious damage. Just one indoor tanning session boosts your risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent.


The number of skin cancer cases due to indoor tanning is higher than the number of lung cancer cases due to smoking.


We’re just going to leave that right there and let that soak in a minute.

We’ll go have a cup of tea...


Where were we?

Right, we were about to tell you that in the US alone, 419,000 cases of skin cancer can be attributed to indoor tanning every year. Of those, 6,199 are melanoma cases (the deadliest kind, though curable if caught early). And there’s this: people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.


Most alarming, the incidence of melanoma in people under 30 is increasing faster than any other group, soaring by 50% since 1980. And yet, 35% of adults and 55% of college students visit tanning salons.

Note the correlation between the rise in skin cancer in people under 30 and the number of college students who frequent tanning salons. Coincidence? We think not. So why would anyone pay good money for the privilege of climbing into an ultraviolet radiation pod in what is ostensibly a skin cancer factory? It’s a puzzler.


Many people think a burnished glow makes them look younger, hotter and healthier. Does it though? Maybe in the short term, but how about the long-term effects of UV radiation on skin: collagen degradation, wrinkles, sagging, age spots, DNA mutations leading to skin cancer?


Statistics show a small drop in usage overall, but some surprising upticks as well. Time Health reported in 2015: “researchers noted a 177% increase in tanning among men between ages 40 to 49 and 71% higher among men 50 and up.”

Get it together, guys.


Statistics Source:

Wehner, MPhil Mackenzie R. "International Prevalence of Indoor Tanning." JAMA Dermatology. American Medical Association, 01 Apr. 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

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