Dangers of Indoor Tanning
According to the American Academy of Dermatology and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning beds, tanning booths and sun lamps are known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). Exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning has been proven to increase the risk of all skin cancers, including melanomas, squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas. In fact, the risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent when indoor tanning devices are used before the age of 30. The UV radiation during indoor tanning also leads to skin aging, hyper - and hypopigmentation, immune suppression and eye damage, such as cataracts.
Therefore, the use of tanning beds, tanning booths and sun lamps is not recommended by dermatologists.
The World Health Organization has declared indoor tanning devices to be cancer-causing agents that are in the same category as tobacco. Studies have found a 59% increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning.
To date, more than 35 states restrict access to indoor tanning equipment either through banning their use by minors or requiring parental consent. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) opposes indoor tanning and supports a ban on the production and sale of indoor tanning equipment for non-medical purposes. If you want to look tan, consider using a self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
The map above shows states with indoor tanning youth access laws. Click on the map for an expanded, up-to-date overview.
The AADA also supports the WHO recommendation that minors should not use indoor tanning equipment. Unless and until the FDA bans the sale and use of indoor tanning equipment for non-medical purposes, the AADA supports restrictions for indoor tanning facilities, including: No person or facility should advertise the use of any UVA or UVB tanning device using wording such as “safe,” “safe tanning,” “no harmful rays,” “no adverse effect,” or similar wording or concepts.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association works on a number of advocacy efforts that impact the prevention and detection of skin cancer. Learn more about these efforts.