Things You Should Know About Tanning Safety

The news is filled with claims of the dangers of ultraviolet radiation and tanning. has put together a list of 10 commonly parroted myths to provide some balance to all the unbridled fearmongering.

  1. Myth: Tanning is just not worth the risk
  2. Myth: There is no safe exposure to UV radiation
  3. Myth: UV radiation causes melanoma
  4. Myth: The World Health Organization has determined that indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma
  5. Myth: There is an epidemic of melanoma
  6. Myth: Melanoma is epidemic among young women
  7. Myth: Melanoma is epidemic among teenage girls
  8. Myth: Tanning beds are more dangerous than the sun
  9. Myth: Indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma by 75%
  10. Myth: All studies show that indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma
  11. Myth: Tanning provides no health benefits.

Why have these myths been perpetuated? Who is behind them?

Sunscreen industry. As market research firm IBISWorld observes:

The increasingly essential nature of sunscreen has been a boon for the Sunscreen Manufacturing industry… Consumers’ growing spending power will allow shoppers to buy more and higher-priced sun protection products, increasing downstream demand from retailers.

The myths that underlie the “essential nature of sunscreen” have helped build the suncreen manufacturers into a $1.3 billion industry.

Dermatologists. Phototherapy is a UV-B treatment prescribed by dermatologists for skin conditions like psoriasis.

According to a June 2013 study in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment,

Use of phototherapy in the United States declined during the 1990s, largely due to unfavorable economic incentives.

A major “unfavorable economic incentive” has been the development of commercial indoor tanning salons that can deliver phototherapy-like UVB radiation, but for a fraction of the price.

Sunscreen-Dermatologist Industrial Complex. The Skin Caner Foundation is fronted by dermatologists but funded by sunscreen makers and retailers.

Not all dermatologists espouse anti-tanning propaganda and sunscreen is useful for preventing sunburn.

That said, when you hear extreme statements about tanning keep in mind the myth-busting presented above and consider the source of the statement. You may discover that someone is using junk science to adversely impact your health and quality of life.