To Your Health: Tanning & Skin Cancer

May 15, 2019

Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and it’s time to break out shorts and sandals.  It’s also that time when people complain about being pale and want to get tan fast. However, many forget about the safe alternatives to getting a bronzed look. Are you one of the many people that lay in a tanning bed either unaware of or ignoring its dangers?

In recent years, medical professionals have seen a noticeable spike in the number of skin cancer diagnoses, specifically melanoma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if the rate of melanoma diagnoses continues to increase at its current pace, 112,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the year 2030.

Medical professionals believe these rising numbers can be contributed to the popularity of tanning beds, which give off ultraviolet rays. Using tanning beds or lamps regularly before the age of 30 increases the risk of developing skin cancer by 75%. The sun also gives off UV rays, but its dangerous effects do not occur as quickly as in a tanning bed. The relationship is comparable to cooking food in the oven versus a microwave.

According to an article on, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies tanning beds and tanning lamps in the highest cancer risk category, which means they are carcinogenic to humans. For reference, other hazardous substances placed in this category are asbestos and plutonium. That beautiful, even tan is not worth the dangers of melanoma.

Content for this segment was created by Kristen Hanser as part of a project for SC301: Foundations of Health Communication, taught by Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs.


Simon, S. (n.d.). Melanoma Skin Cancer Rates are on the Rise. Retrieved from

Fallon, L. F., & Oberleitner, M. (2013). Melanoma. In Gale (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health (3rd ed.). Farmington, MI: Gale. Retrieved from