Young Women Looking For a “Healthy Glow” Should Not Turn to Indoor Tanning

The Skin Cancer Foundation Encourages Choosing Sunless Tanning Alternatives Over Tanning Beds

New York, NY (March 2, 2020) – With spring on the horizon, many women may be tempted to visit the tanning salon in an effort to banish pale winter skin. However, those hoping for a “healthy glow” should be aware that indoor tanning causes severe damage to the skin’s DNA, upping their chances of skin cancer and premature skin aging. There is no such thing as a healthy tan achieved by unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes UV tanning devices in its Group 1, a list of agents that are cancer-causing to humans. Using indoor tanning beds is one of the quickest ways to increase your chances of developing melanoma, one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer. This is especially true for those who begin indoor tanning at a young age. People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent, and one study observing 63 women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 found that 61 of them (97 percent) had used tanning beds.

UV tanning devices can also wreak havoc on the skin’s appearance. “Aside from significantly increasing your risk of developing skin cancer, indoor tanning can contribute to premature skin aging,” says Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Using UV tanning beds can lead to fine lines, wrinkles, sagging and brown spots down the line.”

The best alternative to ultraviolet tanning devices is to embrace your natural skin tone. By staying hydrated, exercising, and incorporating healthy foods into your everyday diet, skin can look and feel great — achieving a truly healthy glow without a tan. But if you’re committed to achieving bronzed skin, there are plenty of sunless alternatives to UV tanning devices that can give you the look you desire without the skin damage.

Spray tans and sunless self-tanning moisturizers, sprays and towelettes can all help women achieve a tanned look in a safe way. The active ingredient in most sunless tanners is the coloring agent DHA (dihydroxyacetone), which combines with amino acids in the skin. The resulting reaction causes browning, but unlike the reaction caused by UV rays, it involves only the outermost, dead cell layer of the skin.

It’s important to remember that a faux tan does not provide any sun protection, however. A proper sun protection regimen — whether you’re rocking your natural skin tone or a self-tanner —includes seeking shade, daily application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and covering up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. If you’re going to be out for an extended period in the sun, use an SPF 30 or higher, broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen.


About The Skin Cancer Foundation
The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. Since its inception in 1979, the Foundation has recommended following a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use. For more information, visit

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