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Tanning Beds: Worse for Your Health Than You Think

Tanning Beds: Worse for Your Health Than You Think

In the episode of Friends, “The One with Ross’s Tan,” Ross (David Schwimmer ) goes into a spray-on tanning booth, is befuddled by the instructions, and gets sprayed twice in front, missing his back. After trying and failing twice more to balance out the coverage, he ends up with a level 16 spray-on tan (2 is optimal) on the front half of his body. True, Ross did royally botch his spray tan, but at least he steered clear of a tanning bed.

For a while now we’ve been telling you that indoor tanning beds are bad for you, but researchers have finally nailed down just how bad. They looked at data on over 140,000 women and found those who’d had 30 or more indoor tanning sessions were 32 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, than non-tanners. And that’s not to mention an increase in premature skin wrinkling. So why are a whopping 9.7 million of you still going for the indoor tan?

If you just say no and accept your natural skin color, you’ll give yourself a younger RealAge, live longer and look better as you do it! But if you have to get a darker glow, use spray tans correctly. That includes wearing a mask to avoid fumes. Also: If you think indoor tanning will give you a vitamin D boost, that’s not happening. The bulbs in tanning booths emit mostly deep-penetrating UVA rays. It’s the shorter UVB rays that help your skin make vitamin D.

Medically reviewed in January 2019.

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