Government of New Brunswick
  • Do the perceived benefits of tanning outweigh the risks?
  • Do you seek opportunities to enjoy the sun and work on your tan?
  • Do you consider tanning a natural process with high appeal?
  • Do you think it is “un-cool” to apply sunscreen in front of your friends?
  • Are you willing to “take the risk” when it comes to tanning?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, keep reading to discover the truth about tanning and why you are at risk.

MYTH #1:
Artificial tanning is safer than sun tanning.

Some modern tanning beds emit 3 to 5 times the intensity of the midday sun. Tanning beds produce sufficient UVB rays to cause burns.  Furthermore, UVA rays, which were once incorrectly believed to be less dangerous than UVB rays, are also carcinogenic. There is no healthy tan. Tanning beds are out!

MYTH #2:
Artificial tanning before going on vacation helps prepare skin for exposure to the sun by providing a “base tan”.

Artificial tanning (or even natural) does not offer effective protection against sunburn during a vacation down south. Tanning only provides a sun protection factor (SPF) of 2 to 3. You will still burn when you hit the beach at your vacation dream spot.  The best protection is to use common sense by applying a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, wear a hat and long sleeves and stay in the shade. Remember, using a tanning bed before the age of 30 increases by 75% your risk of melanoma.  The more you tan, the more you are at risk.

MYTH #3:
Artificial tanning is required for sufficient intake of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is synthesized by the skin from UVB rays, not from UVA rays which tanning devices mostly emit. Besides, it is not necessary to tan, let alone burn, in order to get a sufficient dose of Vitamin D. Reasonable exposure during a walk, provides a good amount of Vitamin D, which can also be found in foods such as some dairy products, eggs, fish, etc. In Canada, the Vitamin D found in food is generally sufficient.

MYTH #4:
Tanning is not as bad for teens and young adults.

Tanning for teens and young adults is even more dangerous than for adults. Studies show that the risk of melanoma is increased by 75% when the use of tanning devices starts before age 30.
People with fair skin, blue eyes, red or blond hair or freckles tan very badly. Their skin burns easily and is prone to brown spots.  However, excessive exposure to sunlight can damage all skin types. Tanning is not healthy.  It causes premature aging of the skin, as well as wrinkles, brown spots and cancer of the skin.

MYTH #5:
20 minutes in a tanning bed is equivalent to 20 minutes in the sun…no big deal!

20 minutes of exposure in a tanning bed may equal up to two hours spent on the beach under the hot mid-day sun without protection.  Artificial tanning bombards the skin with UVA which are three to six times more intense than sunlight. Now do you see why protecting your skin is in?

MYTH #6:
Tanning beds are engineered to emit UV’s that will not create a premature aging of my skin.

Your skin will age quicker if you tan in a tanning bed. UVA which are responsible for skin aging are 3 to 5 times more intense than sunlight.

MYTH #7:
Sun damage is temporary. If you give your skin a break between sun exposures, the sun damage is gone.

Sun damage adds up over time. The skin can repair superficial damage like the redness and soreness of a sunburn, but the underlying damage remains. It may take 10 to 30 years for cancer to develop from repeated exposure. The younger you are, the greater your risk.