Tanning Myths

Myth: “I’ve heard that indoor tanning is more harmful than tanning outdoors because the UV light exposure is more intense.” 

Fact: When used according to the U.S. DFA exposure guidelines, tanning beds are designed to maximize tanning and minimize burning. Conversely, tanning outdoors is an unregulated environment. There are many factors that have to be considered when you tan outdoors: geography, time of day, weather conditions, the seasons, and the ozone layer. Remember the best way to safeguard yourself from sun damage is to wear appropriate levels of SPF sunscreens outdoors, even if you already have a tan.


Myth: “My friend said she heard that tanning bakes your internal organs. Sometimes I notice a strange smell after I tan. Could this be my organs baking?” 

Fact: The UV light from a tanning bed is similar to UV light from the sun, and cannot penetrate deeper than the skin to harm internal organs. The odor you may notice is what is commonly known as “after tan” odor, a common occurrence when tanning indoors or outdoors, which is caused by harmless bacteria on your skin. Tanning lotions contain ingredients designed to eliminate this odor.


Myth: “I have been told that showering directly after tanning will
“wash away” your tan.” 

Fact: Taking a shower after tanning will NOT wash your tan away. A natural tan takes 24-48 hours to develop. However, if you use a tanning lotion during your session, it is best to wait at least an hour because the lotion continues to work after your session.


Myth: “My friend told me that I should stop tanning because I could get a sexually transmitted disease like AIDS from the tanning bed.” 

Fact: The National Center for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that this is physically impossible. The AIDS virus, as well as other seriousviral diseases, does not live outside the body. This fear may come from the fact that many people lay nude in tanning beds to avoid tan lines. However, even with profuse sweating, the AIDS virus, or other venereal diseases, cannot be passed to the next user. Additionally, tanning salons are required by law to disinfect the acrylic liner in the tanning bed between each use.


Myth: “ I heard that in order to get a suntan you have to burn first” 

Fact: A sunburn does not fade into a tan. A sunburn indicates overexposure to UV light and actually damages the skin, leaving it inflamed as indicated by the skin’s red color. Always practice moderation when tanning and use proper sunscreen when tanning outdoors.


Myth: “People with medium to dark skin never burn”

Fact: Although people with medium to darker skin tan more easily than others, they can still get a sunburn. It is still important for these skin types to use sunscreens outdoors and tan moderately.

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