Tanning, whether in the sun or in tanning beds, can damage the skin and increase the risk for skin cancer. Dr. Patel, can you tell us more about the dangers of tanning?
Certainly, Dr. Mayzik. Sunlight and the lights in tanning beds and sun lamps give off harmful ultraviolet, or UV, radiation. Some people mistakenly believe that the UV rays of tanning beds are safer than sunlight, but tanning bed use has been linked with a significant increase in skin cancer risk, especially if a person starts using tanning beds before the age of 30. In fact, some studies suggest that using an indoor tanning bed just once before age 35 can increase the risk of developing melanoma by more than 50 percent, and the risk increases with each use.
Small UV lamps used in nail salons to dry some types of nail polish also give off UVA rays. While the amount they give off is much lower than tanning beds, some experts still recommend applying sunscreen to the hands before using one of these lamps.