- With Mayo Clinic dermatologist
Tanning beds: Safer than the sun?
Are tanning beds safer than natural sunlight?
from Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
Tanning beds don't offer a safe alternative to natural sunlight. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation damages your skin, whether the exposure comes from tanning beds or natural sunlight. This damage increases the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging. In fact, most tanning beds emit mainly UVA rays — which may increase the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
If you'd like the golden glow of a tan without exposure to damaging UV radiation, consider using a sunless tanning product. Avoid tanning beds, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen whenever you're outdoors.