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Getting Real About Fake Tan Risks

Getting Real About Fake Tan Risks

Full-body spray tans are not always administered safely (they shouldn’t get near eyes or mucous membranes or be inhaled), but tanning beds that zap the body with potentially cancer-causing UVA and UVB rays are far more risky. Frequent users of tanning beds increase their chance of developing the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma, by around 80 percent.

Despite that frightening statistic, the CDC says 30 percent of Caucasian women ages 18 to 25 opt for getting a fake tan! Why would they risk cancer for a quick-to-fade glow? Research indicates tanning is often done to boost mood and self-confidence. Our advice? You’ll feel a lot better about yourself without skin cancer!

So we want to outline (one more time) the safe, smart ways to enjoy the sun and urge you, no matter what your skin color, to avoid tanning beds.

  • Get 10 minutes of sun daily to maintain a healthful level of vitamin D—essential for bone and immune system strength.
  • Then use micronized zinc oxide sunblock (SPF of 30) that screens out UVA and UVB rays.
  • If you want to try a spray tan, double check that the area is well-ventilated! 
  • For outdoor activities, consider clothing with a built-in SPF. You can get sunburned through many thin summer fabrics!

Medically reviewed in June 2019.

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