So you Think Indoor Tanning is Safer?

For some reason lately, I have had several patients come in that have been using tanning beds.  I can understand not wanting to be winter pasty pale but here some things to consider.
  1. If you are seeing me, you are investing in your skin and tanning is counter to that investment.
  2. A recent JAMA Network study was released showing a direct connection between indoor tanning and melanoma increase in women aged 25-49.  Among the youngest women, nearly every single one who had melanoma also had a history of tanning indoors.
I recently had a conversation with an indoor tanner about the counter-intuitiveness of coming into a dermatology office after tanning.  The response was, “my salon uses UVA bulbs.”  Perhaps I need to do a better job of educating patients.  While UVB rays are more superficial and cause the skin to burn, UVA rays penetrate even deeper into the skin accelerating aging and causing tissue damage.  Both can lead to skin cancer.  The good news is with the age restrictions in many states (including Oregon), indoor tanning is decreasing, according to Cancer Today Magazine.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors it is next to impossible to not get some color, so don’t freak out if you are using an SPF 40 +.  There is no 100% sunblock except pure white zinc, you will still get a little color.  So be play it safe – wear sunscreen and use self-tanners for color.
If you have any questions always feel free to contact me.