What Are Some Tanning Bed Dangers?


Quick Answer

The dangers of tanning beds include damage to the skin, eyes and immune system. This damage comes from exposure to ultraviolet radiation. In fact, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services consider tanning beds a carcinogen. The risk of damage is greater if a person begins to use tanning beds when she's very young and continues to use them for a long time.

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Full Answer

There are three types of ultraviolet rays, though people only have to worry about UVA and UVB. UVA rays are the ones that reach the deeper layers of the skin and can cause allergic reactions that manifest as rashes. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn. Both types of UV rays put a person at risk for skin cancer, especially squamous-cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Another type of damage caused by tanning beds is the premature or abnormally severe aging of the skin. The skin becomes prematurely wrinkled and leathery and can develop blemishes like age and liver spots. UV rays can also damage the eyes. One sign of this damage is cataracts, which are the clouding of the lens of the eye. UVB radiation might also compromise a person's immune system, which increases the risk of disease.

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