Chasing that golden glow? You’re not alone! Many beauty enthusiasts are drawn to sun tanning beds for that year-round tan and a little mood boost thanks to vitamin D. But hey, there’s been quite a bit of debate about the safety of these tanning devices. So, what’s the real scoop? Should sun tanning beds be a go-to in your beauty routine, or is it better to play it safe and skip them because of the risks?

Let’s dive into a friendly chat about this, exploring the good, the bad, and the best practices for those considering using tanning beds.

Benefits and Risks of Sun Tanning Beds

What are Sun Tanning Beds?

Sun tanning beds, or sunbeds, emit ultraviolet (UV) radiation to produce a cosmetic tan. They come in various types and can be found in tanning salons, spas, and some homes. The tanning process on a sunbed is essentially the same as when you’re under the sun, as it entails exposure to UVA and usually a smaller amount of UVB rays.

How Does a Sun Tanning Beds Work?

Sun tanning beds use a mix of UVA and UVB light to simulate sunlight and create a tanning effect. Tanning is your body’s natural defence against sunburn. When exposed to UV radiation, the body produces melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour, leading to a darker complexion. Tanning beds operate on a similar principle but in a controlled environment.

The Benefits of Sun Tanning Beds

Proponents of sun tanning beds often cite several benefits, including a year-round tan, aesthetic enhancements, and potential health perks. However, as we’ll see, some of these benefits come with a considerable caveat.

A Year-Round Golden Glow

One of the primary appeals of sunbeds is the ability to maintain a tanned complexion even during the winter months or in areas with limited sun exposure. This especially appeals to those who feel more confident or prefer the look of a tan.

Enhanced Vitamin D Production

UVB radiation, which sunbeds also emit, is essential for producing vitamin D in the body. A controlled amount of UV exposure can potentially help those with vitamin D deficiencies, though balancing this benefit with the inherent risks is crucial.

The Dangers of Sun Tanning Beds

The Dangers of Sun Tanning Beds

While the benefits may be appealing, health professionals and regulators are concerned about the dangers of sun tanning beds.

Skin Cancer Risk

The World Health Organization (WHO) states sun tanning beds are “carcinogenic to humans.” Just like exposure to natural sunlight, using a sun tanning bed can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Premature Aging

Frequent tanning bed use can accelerate the skin’s ageing, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and leathery, saggy skin. This can result in an appearance much older than one’s actual age, something most beauty enthusiasts aim to avoid.

Other Health Concerns

In addition to skin cancer and premature ageing, sun tanning beds can contribute to other medical conditions, such as eye damage, including cataracts, and suppression of the immune system.

How to Safely Use Sun Tanning Beds

Safety should be your top priority if you use a sun tanning bed. Here are some tips for reducing the risks associated with sunbed use.

Consider Your Skin Type

Different skin types react differently to UV exposure. Understand your skin type and limit your exposure accordingly.

Use Protective Eyewear

Exposing your eyes to the UV light of a tanning bed can lead to various eye problems. Always wear protective goggles specifically designed for indoor tanning.

Follow the Recommended Exposure Times

Tanning salons should guide you on how long to spend in a tanning bed to minimize risks. Never surpass these recommended exposure times.

Moisturize and Protect Your Skin

After your tanning session, keep your skin hydrated and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect it from further damage.


As the beauty community wrestles with the pros and cons of using sun tanning beds, one thing’s for sure—knowing your stuff is critical. It is crucial to understand how to dodge the risks and when it’s wiser to go for safer options like self-tanners that don’t need UV rays. If you’re thinking about hitting the sunbed, remember there are plenty of other ways to get that glow and feel good without the gamble of sun tanning beds. Choose your beauty moves not just for the immediate sparkle, but for your future health too.