The main risk of artificial tanning is the risk of cancer. Long-term exposure to the ultra-violet rays in artificial tanning beds has been a contributing factor to skin cancer.
Premature aging, sun spots, and wrinkles are all consequences of UV exposure, in addition to skin cancer. Not to mention you will literally smell faintly of bacon… and who knows how well they clean those things!
Though the mentioned risks by PatriciaPham and duguettenm are all legitimate, there are lessening risks to artificial tanning. Ultraviolet-A rays are the less harmful rays emitted by the sun and current tanning bulbs. Ultraviolet-B rays are the rays that cause burns and most cancers, and most bulbs are now designed to not emit any UV-B rays at all. My recommendation would be to carefully control how much artificial tanning you do, and discuss that with your doctor and the employees at the tanning salon to determine how much exposure you should get with your history and health habits.
gest13’s answer seems to be the most thourough but going back to what duguettenm mentioned in the last sentance of their post, these beds are often not cleaned sufficiently. It is very easy to contract a skin fungus from a tanning bed, since it is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Also worth mentioning is the amount of sweat one produces while inside one, even for a short period of time. Factor in how many people a day use the same bed… you get the idea. Public tanning salons are just not very sanitary. A group of Dermatoligists published their findings in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology after taking samples from 10 of Manhatten’s top rated tanning salons and got some disturbing results. The article, published last year, explained a study they performed in which swab samples were taken from 10 different locations. Cultures at all 10 salons grew out bacteria including some pretty serious ones: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae, where a few.
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