COVID-19: Vaccine | Testing | Self-assessment | Patient & Visitor Safety | Visitor Policy
Home > Living Well > Health Library > Indoor Tanning: Is It Safe?
When people use a tanning bed or booth or a sunlamp to get a tan, it's called indoor tanning. Indoor tanning uses artificial ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) light, rather than sunlight, to tan the skin.
People may feel that a tan makes them look good and that a tan looks "healthy." But being exposed to the light from tanning beds isn't safe.
The light from a tanning device can cause skin cancer. Tanning devices are linked to basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and the most serious type of cancer, melanoma. Indoor tanning, especially if used before age 35, increases your risk for all these skin cancers.
And indoor tanning harms you in other ways as well. It can:
Because of the risk for skin cancer, medical experts recommend that children 18 and younger not use indoor tanning at all. Some states have made it illegal for children 18 and younger to use indoor tanning.
Even though indoor tanning isn't safe, some people still use it. But their reasons may not be valid.
If you like the way a tan looks, you can buy sunless tanning products. These are usually lotions, gels, and sprays that you put on the skin. These products color the skin to make it look like you have a tan. To keep your tan, reapply the tanning product regularly. If you use these products, cover your eyes, nose, mouth, and ears before you apply them.
These products are generally safe, but they don't protect against sunburn. You will still need to use sunscreen.
There are also tanning pills. These are not safe. They can cause problems such as liver damage and hives.
Indoor tanning increases the risk of skin cancer. If you choose to use a tanning device, you can take steps to reduce your risk.
Current as of:
November 15, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineAmy McMichael MD - Dermatology
Current as of: November 15, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Amy McMichael MD - Dermatology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.
Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.
Set Your Location
Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.