Skin cancer is often considered the most preventable and treatable type of cancer there is, when detected early. However, there are still some individuals who choose to either ignore warnings or are misinformed about both outdoor and indoor tanning. People who practice unsafe tanning behaviour carry the highest risk for developing skin cancer. Much like tobacco use is linked to mouth and lung cancer, it is evident that there are strong correlations between unsafe tanning practices and skin cancer.
When entering a tanning salon, many will argue that people are Vitamin D deficient and therefore would benefit from a tan. However, for most, an average diet or a short drive to work provides more than sufficient Vitamin D. It is also a common misconception that if you wear SPF, you will not be able to absorb Vitamin D. Vitamin D can still be absorbed in the skin even with the use of a strong sunscreen. Indoor tanning should never be considered an appropriate substitute for Vitamin D as the significant risks far outweigh any possible benefits.
A second common myth is that “getting a base tan at the salon before going on vacation will prevent you from getting a burn.” While getting any type of colour to the skin is considered damage, we understand that while on vacation it is very difficult to avoid getting some colour. However, it is unhealthy to purposely seek a tan at an indoor tanning facility because a sunscreen is not being used and the skin is 100% unprotected. Alternatively, it is best to use an effective sunscreen and reapply throughout the day. This truly is the only healthy and sure fire way to prevent a burn.
Another common myth is “getting a tan gives you a healthy glow and makes you look better.” These people probably forget that unprotected exposure to the sun and tanning beds will undoubtedly lead to premature aging including age spots, wrinkles and loose, sagging skin. Instead, why not consider using one of the many new technologies that can create the same healthy glow, including indoor spray tanning and self-tanners. These products have continued to improve over the years and are now capable of creating a very natural looking outcome.
While we understand many of these common motivations, the significant risks that are associated with tanning beds and unsafe outdoor tanning far outweigh any potential benefits.