A 2012 survey from the American Academy of Dermatology shows many people are wildly uninformed when it comes to the facts about indoor tanning, and the results of a recent U.S. House of Representatives report found that tanning salons may be largely to blame for this. The report found that 90 percent of salons told customers that tanning poses no health dangers, 78 percent claimed indoor tanning actually improves health, and 51 percent denied that indoor tanning increases the risk for skin cancer. Here's what you need to know so you don't get duped:
Lie: Tanning beds are safer than the sun.
Sucker Count: Twenty-four percent of young adults reported that they were either unaware or unsure that tanning beds are not safer than the sun.
The Truth: The cancer-causing UVA rays you get from an indoor tanning bed can be roughly 12 times stronger than the ones you get from the sun. And getting a sunburn in a tanning bed is possible. In fact, a recent study found that nearly one in five indoor tanning sessions results in a sunburn.
Lie: Getting a "base" is a healthy way to protect your skin from sun damage.
Sucker Count: Sixty-five percent of young adults thought this statement was true.
The Truth: There is no such thing as a safe "base" tan, says Brewer. "Patients always ask me, 'How much tan is OK for me?' and the answer, no matter your skin tone, is 'No amount of tan is healthy.'" That's because any level of tan means the DNA in the deep layers of your skin has been damaged, and your body is trying to protect itself from more damage.
Lie: Tanning makes you look healthier and younger.
Sucker Count: Thirty-one percent of young adults were either unsure or didn't know that sun exposure can cause wrinkles.
The Truth: The UVA rays you're exposed to in a tanning bed travel to the deepest layers of your skin, damaging collagen fibers and elastin--the stuff that keeps your complexion looking and feeling soft and smooth. Over time, that damage to your collagen and elastin makes your skin thinner and causes sagging and creasing (hello, wrinkles).
Indoor Tanning: How the Damage Happens
Skin Cancer Kills: The Dangers of Tanning Beds