Ban the Tan There are lots of myths and misunderstandings about tanning and tanning-bed use. Here’s why you should ban the tan. MYTH: Tanning beds are safer than sun-tanning WRONG! It wasn’t long ago that instead of sunscreen, people would slather on the tanning oil and spend hours baking in the sun to achieve a deep bronze tan. In the 1970s and ‘80s, tanning beds were promoted as safe, artificial alternatives to sun-tanning to achieve the tanned look without the harmful effects. But we now know know that artificial UV rays are just as harmful as UV from the sun – in fact, an 8-year study of more than 100,000 Scandinavians demonstrated that people who use tanning beds on one or more occasions per month are 55% more likely to develop melanoma and other skin cancers. The younger you are when you start using tanning beds, the higher your risk of developing skin cancer. Some countries have even banned tanning beds as a Class 1 Carcinogen (along with such cancer-causing agents as cigarette smoke and asbestos)! MYTH: A “baseline tan” protects my skin from the harmful effects of the sun WRONG! Tanned skin provides the equivalent of SPF 2 – hardly any protection at all. Tanned skin is a sign of skin damage, not skin health! Tanning causes the skin to age more quickly, losing elasticity and healthy collagen. This results in skin that becomes tough, rough, wrinkled and leathery at an early age. A glowing tan is not a sign of good health – it is a sign that you have damaged your skin!