Risks of Artificial Tanning

Risks of Artificial Tanning

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According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, tanning is defined as the browning of the skin, especially by exposure to the sun (Scutt, 2020). Skin turning can be natural through the use of the sun or arterial through the use of technological devices that use UV radiation to stimulate the darkening of existing melanin and spur increased melanogenesis, which is the production of new melanin. I am fascinated by the technology of tanning, where people use artificial devices to tan their skin. Artificial turning has been marred by controversy, with some people claiming that it is safer than sun tanning. For example, indoor tanning is a safe source of vitamin D, but this is just a misconception as there is no evidence to support the claim. However, artificial turning is associated with lots of risks to users, including quick aging, increased risk of skin cancer, and the suppression of the immune system.

Artificial tanning is not safer than the sun in regard to the risk of skin cancer (Dodds et al., 2018). While the sun provides natural UV light to the body to help in turning, it also presents a great chance of developing skin cancer. On the other hand, artificial tanning is worse than the sun because it involves artificial UV rays directed to the skin. Despite being controlled, these UV rays can be dangerous to the skin regardless of the number of sessions that a person has undergone artificial tanning. According to science, just one indoor session of tanning increases the risk of developing skin cancer in that it increases melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67%, and basal cell carcinoma by 29% (Lergenmuller et al., 2019). Despite these statistics, many people across the globe are not aware that artificial turning is not safe, with nearly 25% of young adults who happen to be a user of indoor tanning are either unaware or unsure that artificial turning is not safer than the sun. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires warning labels on all artificial tanning equipment to notify the users that there is an increased risk of getting skin cancer from artificial tanning.

Artificial tanning has been associated with premature aging, and this makes it not safe for use (Knight et al., 2002). Tanning, whether natural using the sun or artificial through the use of tanning equipment, increases the risk of making the user’s skin age more quickly. Individuals who use artificial tanning risk high chances of getting wrinkles, age spots as well as the loss of skin firmness, and this characteristic manifest in the early years of young people who use artificial tanning. Based on this, anyone who uses artificial tanning runs the risk of developing leathery skin, and this is something those non-users don’t have as their skin is rigid and smooth. Everyone wants to age slowly, which is why many people feel bad when their bodies, especially their faces, tend to show signs of aging.

Many people use beauty products to make their skins appear younger, which explains why a person will be disappointed if their skin seems aged. It becomes even more difficult for young people to persevere an aging skin due to body shaming. The use of artificial tanning can even be worse for young people, presenting them with fast aging symptoms, which might increase their chances of depression (World Health Organization, 2017). With their friends looking younger, a person can withdraw from other people, and this may increase the risk of the progression of mental health illnesses such as depression and eventually lead to suicidal behavior. Therefore, it is advisable for young people to stop using artificial tanning as the beauty presented is only temporary with permanent consequences.

Individuals who use artificial tanning run the risk of sustaining serious injuries (Diehl et al., 2019). According to statistics, it is reported that artificial tanning produces more than 100 times more UV levels or the expected intensity of the UV compared to that which is produced by the sun. As a result of the increased levels of UV levels, artificial tanning can accelerate tanning to dangerous levels. It can severely damage the external and internal structures of an individual’s eyes and eyelids. Most victims of indoor tanning risk getting severely injured, which explains why in the emergency rooms across the United States, many people are treated for burns, loss of consciousness, and eye injuries. For example, it is reported that skin burns, syncope, and eye injuries are some of the major injuries resulting from indoor tanning based on their magnitude. Despite the fact that injuries related to artificial tanning have greatly reduced, the risk of being greatly injured is still high, and this means that indoor tanning is not safe for anyone as it might also increase the risk of cancer of the eye, popularly referred to as ocular melanoma, as well cataracts and other potentially blinding eye diseases.

Indoor tanning is associated with the risk of developing autoimmune diseases (Adekunle et al., 2020). The UV radiation from the sun is known to result in skin cancer. Artificial tanning results in more than 100 times the sun’s UV radiation levels, which means that it presents a high risk of developing skin cancer among users compared to those who use the sun. Women are the most common users of artificial tanning as they are obsessed with beauty. As a result, these women end up developing a wide range of diseases resulting from suppressed immune systems. Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation may suppress the proper functioning of the body’s immune system as well as the skin defenses. As a result, an individual increases sensitivity to sunlight, diminishing the effects of immunization or causing reactions to certain medications.

Exposure to artificial tanning in the salon is also associated with the onset of autoimmune diseases. It results in the exacerbation of lupus by modulation of the immune system at the level of the skin (Perer, 2020). Statistics have also indicated that ultraviolet light may result in the development of antinuclear antibodies in the body. Laboratory studies show that normal skin cells produce very large amounts of the protein responsible for inflammation and cell death after exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning. Based on this, it is evident that indoor tanning, despite being a technological advancement, is not safer compared to sun tanning as it presents numerous risks, including the development of skin cancer and autoimmune diseases.


Adekunle, L., Chen, R., Morrison, L., Halley, M., Eng, V., Hendlin, Y., … & Linos, E. (2020). Association between financial links to indoor tanning industry and conclusions of published studies on indoor tanning: systematic review. bmj, 368.

Diehl, K., Görig, T., Schilling, L., Greinert, R., Breitbart, E. W., & Schneider, S. (2019). Profile of sunless tanning product users: Results from a nationwide representative survey. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, 35(1), 40-46.

Dodds, M., Arron, S. T., Linos, E., Polcari, I., & Mansh, M. D. (2018). Characteristics and skin cancer risk behaviors of adult sunless tanners in the United States. JAMA dermatology, 154(9), 1066-1071.

Knight, J. M., Kirincich, A. N., Farmer, E. R., & Hood, A. F. (2002). Awareness of the risks of tanning lamps does not influence behavior among college students. Archives of Dermatology, 138(10), 1311-1315.

Lergenmuller, S., Ghiasvand, R., Robsahm, T. E., Green, A. C., Lund, E., Rueegg, C. S., & Veierød, M. B. (2019). Association of lifetime indoor tanning and subsequent risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. JAMA dermatology, 155(12), 1350-1357.

Perer, J. (2020). Environmental Stress Response Modulation in Skin: Novel Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Opportunities for Photoprotection and Suppression of Carcinogenesis (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Arizona).

Scutt, J. A. (2020). Extremities: From the Tips of Her Fingers to the Tips of Her Toes. In Beauty, Women’s Bodies and the Law (pp. 249-296). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

World Health Organization. (2017). Artificial tanning devices: public health interventions to manage sunbeds. World Health Organization.