Muscular Man lying on a tanning bed at health spa

Can Tanning Beds Cause Skin Cancer?

Muscular Man lying on a tanning bed at health spaSkin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States. It can develop on any part of your body, including your scalp, lips, and even under your nails. Tanning beds significantly increase your risk of developing skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, indoor tanning increases your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 58% and basal cell carcinoma by 24%. Additionally, using tanning beds before you turn 20 can increase your risk of developing melanoma by at least 47%. These numbers are particularly concerning to the team at Greater Miami Skin and Laser Center, who can help explain the dangers and provide life-saving skin cancer exams for tanning bed users who may be at risk.

How can tanning beds cause skin cancer?

The ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning beds can damage your skin cells. This damage can lead to the development of skin cancer. Tanning beds emit UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the main type of radiation that penetrates your skin and causes damage. UVB rays are also harmful, but they don’t penetrate your skin as deeply as UVA rays.

These statistics, compiled by the Skin Cancer Foundation, further illustrate the dangers of indoor tanning:

  • Tanning beds expose users to 10 to 15 times the UV radiation as peak sun exposure.
  • More than 419,000 skin cancer diagnoses in the US every year are contributed to indoor tanning.
  • More people develop skin cancer because of indoor tanning than those who develop lung cancer because of smoking.

What happens if I use a tanning bed and see changes in my skin?

If you see changes on the skin’s surface after the use of a tanning bed, it is critical that you see a dermatologist, or skin doctor, right away for an evaluation. These changes can include new moles, changes in existing moles, or new and changing growths on your skin. Be sure to speak to your doctor if you have been using a tanning bed and if you have experienced any severe sunburns throughout your lifetime. This also increases your risk of developing skin cancer.

Schedule an appointment with a dermatologist today!

If you notice any new or unusual changes in your skin, such as new growths or changes in existing moles, after having used tanning beds in your lifetime, be sure to see a dermatologist at Greater Miami Skin and Laser Center right away. A skin cancer screening and evaluation just may save your life! Our doctors are available to help patients in and around the communities of Miami Beach in preventing, diagnosing, and treating skin cancer for a longer, healthier life!

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