People talk a lot about tanning and whether or not it is safe. There are many myths surrounding the tanning industry. Is tanning dangerous? Does it cause skin damage? How much tanning is too much? What about tanning beds, are they a safe way to get a tan? These common myths about tanning make it hard to know what is right and what is wrong. Tanning does come with risks, so it’s important to get the right information. Once you filter out the hype, you can find ways to get the tan you want safely.
10 Tanning Myths People Believe To Be True
In this article:
- Tanning Causes Skin Cancer
- Just Being in the Sun Will Cause Cancer
- Sunscreen Causes Cancer
- Sunlight Gives Vitamin D
- You Need a High SPF to Get Full Protection From the Sun
- Clouds Protect From the Sun
- Tanning Beds are Safer Than Tanning on the Beach
- Tanning Will Help You Lose Weight
- Tanning is Safe for Kids and Teens
- As Long As You Don’t Get Your Skin Burned, You Are Not at Risk of Cancer
1. Tanning Causes Skin Cancer
The word “causes” is the problem with this tanning myth. It is true that tanning is associated with skin cancer, but it is not tanning that is the problem. It is too much sun exposure when sun tanning. There are also many different factors with melanoma, the kind of skin cancer associated with tanning via sun exposure. Melanoma can run in families, for example. If no one in the family has a history of this form of cancer, the risk of getting it is lower whether or not you tan.
There is little doubt that exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning devices, like traditional tanning beds, increases a person’s risk of getting melanoma. Whether you enjoy sun tanning, tanning products, or spray tanning at your favorite tanning salons, it’s important to take precautions. A safe tan comes from limited exposure and wearing sunscreen, whatever your skin type is.
2. Just Being in the Sun Will Cause Cancer
This is mostly true. There is a link between exposure to various UV rays of the sun and skin cancer, but, again, there are many other factors involved. One person can spend all day outdoors and never have a problem. And, someone who spends very limited time outside can still get skin cancer. As a rule, it is best to take precautions like wearing a good sunscreen if planning a day at the beach. Sunscreen that protects against all the different types of UV rays that the sun produces is best. A wide-brimmed hat is not only fashionable. It also helps protect your face from the harsh rays of the sun.
3. Sunscreen Causes Cancer
There is nothing to support the idea that sunscreen is bad for you. There are some ingredients in sunscreen that have raised eyebrows in the past, but research showed otherwise. In fact, sunscreen helps protect your skin from sun damage.
4. Sunlight Gives Vitamin D
The sun is the best source of Vitamin D. Yes, 2 to 10 minutes of sun exposure in the morning gets you the amount you need. Safe moderate tanning is, in fact, recommended for people who are vitamin D deficient and enjoy sunless tanning options, like a spray tan.
Other sources of Vitamin D include fortified food and drinks like bread and milk. Vitamin D supplements are good sources, too.
5. You Need a High SPF to Get Full Protection From the Sun
High is good but SPF 50 is enough as long as it carries the label “broad spectrum.” Broad spectrum means that the sunscreen will protect against the most dangerous kinds of UV light — UVA and UVB. Sunscreen that is not broad spectrum is not safe even if it does have a high SPF rating.
6. Clouds Protect From the Sun
Clouds do filter out some of the harmful UV rays but do not do much to block all that cause damage to the skin. Even on sunny days, you need to wear sunscreen.
7. Tanning Beds are Safer Than Tanning on the Beach
Indoor tanning beds pose a risk. They produce the same UV rays as the sun. They are not any safer than beach tanning. If you use indoor tanning equipment such as a tanning bed, make sure to follow all the safety instructions. Limit the time you spend in your tanning session. Better yet, look for a self-tanning product (like tanning lotion) to get that bronzed look.
8. Tanning Will Help You Lose Weight
Some people believe that tanning helps people lose weight. They believe that the light rays stimulate the thyroid hormone, or that tanning helps lose water weight by sweating. This is not true at all.
9. Tanning is Safe for Kids and Teens
When you start tanning early, it increases your lifetime risk of getting skin cancer. This is because of the prolonged exposure to UV rays—be it under the sun or from tanning at salons.
10. As Long As You Don’t Get Your Skin Burned, You Are Not at Risk of Cancer
A sunburn is your skin’s way of saying you’ve been tanning too much. Sunburn is a break in the skin. Thus, it makes the skin more prone to further damage from UV rays. But even without, you can still get damage beyond your skin. A study shows that you’re still at risk for melanoma even if you have no sunburn history.
Check out this video to learn more facts on the debunked tanning myths:
There is a lot of junk science out there, so make sure you have all the facts. Learn how tanning affects your health and find a sunscreen that will protect your skin when you go outside.
Do you have other tanning myths that need to be debunked? Let us know in the comments section below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 13, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.