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  • Individuals who use indoor tanning devices primarily engage in the activity for social and personal benefit.

  • Artificial ultraviolet (UV) radiation is carcinogenic to humans and is connected to an increased risk for melanoma.

  • Continued efforts are needed to promote further health education related to indoor tanning as well as legislation to prohibit minors from using artificial UV devices.


  • Indoor tanning devices may provide short-term benefits such as an enhanced mood and a brighter appearance. In the long term, one may experience photoaging, excessive wrinkling, and an increased risk for melanoma.

  • The UV radiation of indoor tanning devices emits much stronger rays than the sun on an average summer day.


  • UV exposure induces DNA damage in the skin, which may trigger carcinogenesis. Since the basal layer of human skin is more prone to UVA-induced mutations than the skin’s upper layers, skin cancers can form quickly.


  • Patients should be informed that exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning devices is associated with an increase in the risk for melanoma.

  • The indoor tanning industry lacks a clean record of being fully transparent to patients about the risks of indoor tanning. Multiple studies have indicated that indoor tanning facilities market their devices as safe and healthy.


In the United States, tanning as a recreational activity has become more popular over time.1 Through the course of one’s life, it is natural to accumulate skin damage by ultraviolet radiation (UVR).2 However, the hazardous effects and risks of UV exposure vary among skin types. Artificial UV exposure continues to thrive through its high profit-producing outlet: indoor tanning.3


Despite a striking increase in education and health campaigns to promote the risks of tanning, people around the world continue to engage in this activity, though this was not always the case. Over a century ago, a fair complexion was deliberately desired because it symbolized the wealthier class. Meanwhile, the lower class worked outdoors in the fields, ultimately gaining copious amounts of sun exposure.4 Following the industrial revolution, indoor jobs became the norm, which naturally diminished the desire for fair skin. Ironically, tanned skin became a classifying element in the upper class. Individuals with the financial means to not work were spending leisure time in the sun.5

Around the 1940s, the risks of UV exposure and the correlations between tanning and skin cancer were publicized in medical journals, articles, and television segments. Newfound research examining the effects of UV exposure led to the development of more protective and appealing products such as sunscreen-infused makeup formulas and water-resistant and long-lasting topical sunscreen. Although many people took precautions to protect their skin, celebrity influencers such as actresses and models portrayed tanned skin as young and healthy. Meanwhile, popularity ...

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