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5 Ways Tanning Can Harm Your Skin

We all love that sun-kissed look, but what’s the cost of investing in regular tanning sessions? Here we review five ways tanning can harm your skin.


You might think a little sunburn is nothing. In reality, though, sunburn (also known as erythema) is still a form of sun damage that has adverse effects on the health of your skin. Consider that multiple studies have revealed a close relationship between severe sunburn and skin cancer, and that a tan will not protect you from sunburn. Whether you’re tanning indoors or outdoors, UV rays have the potential to cause this kind of skin damage. Not only is sun damaged skin painful, but it could lead to more serious skin conditions down the line.

Premature Aging

When you tan, you risk developing signs of premature aging. This phenomenon, sometimes called photoaging, is a direct result of too much UV exposure. Premature aging takes place on our skin in the form of leathery skin, dark spots, and wrinkles. Although everyone’s skin is different, over-exposure to UV rays on a regular basis can break down elastin and collagen in the skin, both of which are essential in keeping skin looking young and healthy.

Skin Cancer

Did you know that just one indoor tanning session can increase your risk of developing a life-threatening form of skin cancer? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, even a single indoor tanning session can increase your chances of developing melanoma by 75%. And there are other types of skin cancer you risk developing, as well. Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma are a few of the most common types of skin cancer you can develop from exposure to UV rays. These cancers can be life-threatening, and you can help prevent them by not investing in tanning.

Actinic (Solar) Keratosis

Actinic keratosis, also referred to as solar keratosis, is sun damage characterized by bumpy, rough, or scaly skin texture around an area that has experienced sunburn or similar damage from UV rays. It may just look like a skin rash as first, but there is a major concern surrounding this type of skin damage. Actinic keratosis is considered the earliest stage in the development of skin cancer and must be removed by a dermatologist. Even after removal, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on that skin site.

Darker Stretch Marks

Just as tanning can cause premature aging, it can actually enhance features that you may be trying to hide. Stretch marks and scar tissue, for example, will likely become darker and more noticeable with repeated tanning sessions. Tanning doesn’t affect all of your skin the same way, especially if you already have scars, discoloration, or stretch marks. It may seem like a simple solution, but a trusted dermatologist is really the path you should take if you have issues with your skin’s appearance.

Tanning, whether outdoors or in a tanning bed, poses some serious risks to your skin’s health and overall appearance. If you’re looking for safe, sunless skincare solutions, contact SE Dermatology Specialists today. We’re here to help your skin glow without all of the harmful UV rays.

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