During these cold winter months, some people will be going to use tanning beds and booths.


Once thought of as a safe alternative to natural sunlight, indoor tanning booths are just as dangerous as the sun to skin health. According to the American Cancer Society, over 1 million people are estimated to be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. Although preventable, thousands of people die from skin cancer each year.

During these cold winter months, some people will be going to use tanning beds and booths.


Once thought of as a safe alternative to natural sunlight, indoor tanning booths are just as dangerous as the sun to skin health. According to the American Cancer Society, over 1 million people are estimated to be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. Although preventable, thousands of people die from skin cancer each year.


There are two forms of skin cancer. Non-melanoma skin cancers are those, which are localized to one area of the body and not spread to other systems or organs in the body.


They are usually found on areas of the skin that are most exposed to ultraviolet radiation, such as the face, hands and neck.


Melanoma skin cancer is more dangerous, and results from repeated overexposure to UV rays. Melanoma can spread to other parts of the body, making it more dangerous and deadly if left untreated.


Tanning beds release high amounts of UV radiation, causing damage to the skin. Although this damage may not be seen immediately, it may result in skin cancer in the future. The Dartmouth Medical School found that using a tanning bed makes a person 2.5 times more likely to develop skin cancer. This research was based on the use of a tanning bed once during a person’s lifetime, not regular or prolonged use. Indoor tanning can also cause immune system suppression and complications with vision and eye health, including cataract development.


Both forms of cancer are highly treatable when detected in their early stages, however avoiding indoor tanning beds all together is the safest and easiest way to avoid skin cancer.


For more information on the dangers of indoor tanning, please contact the Livingston County Department of Health at 585-243-7299.