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Tanning beds: Safer than the sun?

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 10, 2021.

Tanning beds don't offer a safe alternative to natural sunlight.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation damages your skin, whether the radiation comes from tanning beds or natural sunlight. Exposure increases the risk of skin cancer, premature skin aging and eye damage. Experts found a 75 percent increase in melanoma among those who first used tanning beds in their teens or 20s. Melanoma is the most serious type 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.

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