Does a sunlamp cause less skin damage than the sun?

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Indoor tanning is the use of tanning beds, booths or sunlamps to get a tan. Both indoor tanning and tanning in the sun cause exposure to UV-A and UV-B rays, which is dangerous. Any tanning damages the skin and can lead to sunburns, premature wrinkling, skin thickening and skin cancers. Indoor tanning has been linked to melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanomas of the eye.

Sunlamps cause as much skin damage as sunshine. The tanning lamps emit even more ultraviolet (UV) light than is found in sunlight, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Ultraviolet light damages the DNA in your skin cells. (DNA is the coding that tells cells how to reproduce.) If the DNA is damaged, the cells may produce cancer cells instead of healthy ones. Ultraviolet light also damages key proteins in your skin, such as collagen and elastin, making the skin more likely to wrinkle and develop age spots. For these reasons, the AAD opposes the use of sunlamps, except for medical purposes.

Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing to safeguard your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Both the sun and a sunlamp send out ultraviolet (UV) rays that damage skin. Watch the animation to learn more about UV rays and skin damage.


Continue Learning about Effect Of Sun On Skin

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.