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  1. #1

    Default Tanning Bed Debate!

    My hubby and I are both going to csa in April. I have never tanned before (in a tanning bed). I was all set to maybe try one before our trip so that I don’t totally fry but I am a little nervous about the tanning beds and the increased risk for cancer. I was even more uneasy when a 32 year mother of 3 kids ages 1,3,5 and an old high school friend e-mailed me and told me her story. She went to the doctors with severe stomach pain. She was already at the hospital so they sent her to the E.R. Several hours later they told her that she has Malignant Melanoma that was already spread all over her body. After several bouts of experimental treatments I got the news recently, that the doctors say that it is too late. Her husband e-mailed me and said that they are going to hospice today. So now I am really scared. Does anyone know would tanning a couple of times really increase my risk? My doctor said that people that use tanning beds are 75% more likely to get this type of cancer but I am not clear as to if they mean frequent users or just any use. It is with a heavy heart that I ask what do you think.

  2. #2


    1) sorry about your friend
    2)Factually, occasional exposure to a tanning bed for a prescribed 7-11 minute session is not a dangerous thing.
    3)if you are this worred i would suggest you skip the tanning bed and reduce your worry
    4) use lube early and often enjoy

  3. #3


    I had a malignant melonoma several years ago. According to the doctors at the hospital, sunbeds DO increase the chances quite considerably. Doctors in the UK would like to see sunbed tanning salons closed down, but i think that is a battle they probably won't win. Do not forgot though that it is not just sunbeds that cause melanoma, but also long bouts in the sun without shade and the use of low factor sun lotions. Unfortunately i see far too many people doing this.

  4. #4


    I'm 58.......I've tanned all my life, and used tanning beds during the winter to feel good. However, the last 7 or 8 years I quit using the tanning beds on a regular basis.....mainly for the wrinkle issue, but also because I've become more aware of the dangers of long tern use of them.

    I learned years ago that the higher the sunscreen number on your lotion, the better tan you get. I didn't believe it, but it's true. I use a 50 all the time, and I brown up very nicely. It blocks the rays that make you red, so you brown instead of turning red.

    My dermatologist has told me for years that tanning before vacation doesn't protect might be able to stay in the sun a little longer, but you will still burn without lotion. The only reason I do it is to have a little color for the first time on the beach. I start about 4 weeks before vacation......I use the 'stand up' bed (so you tan evenly), and only go for 10 minutes at a time. I try to get in about 10 - 12 sessions before vacation. Works out to about every other day.
    This is sufficent for me, and I don't feel I'm over doing it.

    The dangers down the road, well, cancer can happen to anyone. I get an all over body check every year with my doctor, I am aware of the changes on my I feel I'm taking the necessary precautions.

    It's your choice....this is only what I do. You just have to be comfortable yourself. We are leaving for CSA Jan. 31....can't wait !!!!! Enjoy your trip!

  5. #5


    Well, first I would ask your doctor what he means specifically if you have a question. Don't take medical advice from a message board.

    My two cents/soapbox: Tanning is tanning, be it bed or the sun. Pre-tanning may reduce your burning, but it doesn't reduce the risk of cancer. For me, that's my number one concern. When I come back from Jamaica and people are all, "Oh, where's your tan?" I tell them how I'm not down with skin cancer. Sunscreen is my best friend.

    Then there's vanity. After seeing people the same age as I am who have spent their years getting tan age so rapidly, no thanks. I see people with whom I went to high school who were always tan. Now, in their late 30's, they look a solid 10-15 years older.

    So for me, for cancer and for vanity, I'd just rather stay pale. Slap on sunscreen all day long and sit in the shade.

  6. #6


    Talk to your doctor about what your risks may be, and consider scheduling a yearly check with a dermatologist. There are those who think these beds are safe, but the general medical opinion is that they are not.

  7. #7


    I think a lot of it has to do with how your body processes the damage you do to it. My husband is 33 years old and smoked 1 pack of cigarettes per day for the last 10 years. Addicted yes, but I never consider him a heavy smoker. He began having pain in his leg and doctors found a blood clot that extended from his ankle to his groin. Between July 2009 and Dec 2009 he had 5 surgeries to his left legs to restore circulation. I am a critical care RN and have taken care of people that have smoked 3-4 packs/day for 20-30 years before they had problems. I am also considering tanning beds for our upcoming trip to CTI. My thought process is everything in moderation. This year will mark my 2nd tanning bed use in 33 years.

  8. #8


    If you decide to go tanning, discuss with the person there which type of bed or booth and time to spend for your personal skin type. If they don't seem well informed, go somewhere else. Start slowly with little time if you have never been before. I have been tanning before vacations and a bit through the winter months for years and I don't like the booths. I tan well but they burn my face so I stay with the beds. Good luck in your choice and remember to use a good sunscreen when in Jamaica. Have a great vacation.

  9. #9

    Default Tanning bed

    I, like you, am a tanning bed virgin. I am seriously considering going this year, because I'm getting married in June and would like to have a nice tan in my wedding dress. Other than this "Special occasion" I do not think that tanning is a good idea (ok, even INCLUDING this special occasion, I don't think it's a *Good* idea, but in weighing risk/benefit I am willing to take the risk to feel sexy on my wedding day).

    I agree with the others, I don't think tanning in a bed is any more dangerous than in the sun (and some people argue it is less so..) but it will increase your risk (however minutely) of getting cancer, and will also increase sun damage to your skin (read: wrinkles and sun spots as you age).

    I went to the derm this year for a skin check-up.. I suggest that you make a deal with yourself and do the same! If you let yourself tan, take care of your skin, then hopefully any suspicious moles etc can be taken care of before you end up in the position of your friend. I am an ER nurse and I personally have 2 colleagues in their 30s who were both dx with malignant melanoma and neither one was a big tanner (thankfully caught it early and after some large excisions of affected skin are cancer-free) but it really isn't something to ignore. It DOES happen.

    additionally, if you have never tanned before, I suggest tanning for the first time at least a month before your vacation. This is probably very rare, but I had a patient in the ER a few months ago who decided to treat herself to her first ever tanning bed experience for her birthday. She ended up with 2nd degree burns over the majority of her stomach, thighs, back and buttocks---angry red blistering burns. I don't know why this happened to her... but.. it looked so painful, and definitely not something you want to deal with on vacation!!

    And, another idea? Spray on tan? I've heard they can be really real looking if you get them done professionally?

  10. #10


    Indeed, moderation.

    When I was young, I am 56 now, I spent many summers at our local pool. Sunburns were an annual event, sometime a couple a year, in the process of attaining a nice tan by the time school started again in the fall. I mowed lawns for money and played ball nearly everyday, often with no shirt on. While I have had no ill result occur as of yet, I do take more precautions in my wiser years to protect myself from the sun. That said, I still want to show up in Jamaica in June with some semblance of a tan already established. Since we live in the midwest and natural tanning is not practical until at least mid May, I will be patronizing a local tanning salon for a month or so before our trip. Probably not with my doctor's approval, but none the less I will be tanning. It is not something I would recommend for anyone else, nor would I discourage them either. It is not something I would make a habit of as I would not be tanning at a salon for any other reason. But I consider it part of our vacation experience.

    Tan or not, have a great trip. You will love CSA!

  11. #11


    This is a touchy subject. Everyone has different skin and different sun tolerance. I'm very pale and I have freckles and I burn easily. I feel I am more susceptable to skin cancer than my olive skinned, tans easily friend but I don't have skin cancer yet. Skin cancer is prevalent in my family as well (I come from a family of farmers and they're always outside and sunscreen isn't even a forethought..ever).
    So...whether you should tan or not? Well, that depends on you and the risk you're willing to take. I think frequent tanning, whether it be in a bed or out in the sun will increase your chances-just like the more driving you do, the more likely you're going to be in an accident.
    I tanned in a tanning bed before going to CTI because I burn very easily and I wanted to build up a base so as to not fry myself and ruin my vacation. The sun in Jamaica is VERY hot and intense and we went through 3 bottles of sunscreen, plus I sunblocked my face and wore a hat and sunglasses. I came home with a deeper, darker tan. But, I don't choose to tan year round because I do try to protect my skin and skin cancer isn't something I want to get.
    Some people just get it and some people tan and just get wrinkles. I would hesitate to go to Jamaica without have some sort of exposure because you could get really burnt within an hour and have your vacation ruined. But, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to use a tanning bed either.
    If you are fair skinned and want to use a tanning bed, use the lotions/creams that protect your skin, wear your goggles, and go for short periods of time so you don't run the risk of burning in the bed. That kind of burn is SO NOT fun. Keep track of any moles, enlarged freckled or anything, and regularly check your body. Sometimes a spot on the skin can be removed before turning "cancerous" but you have to be super active about finding it and acting upon it.
    Good luck and enjoy!

  12. #12


    thanks so much for all the imput.

  13. #13


    The only healthy tan is a fake tan. If your skin darkens -- be it from a tanning bed or actual sun -- your skin has been damaged. A tan is its way of trying to protect itself from further damage.

    Pale is healthy and it's a shame people can't accept that. I am proud of my porcelain skin and plan to bring at least 10 tubes of sunscreen to Jamaica to protect it.

    Skin cancer is a preventable disease -- don't let your vanity and society's misplaced notions about beauty keep you from protecting youself. Just ask, which would you rather have, a "nice, healthy glow" or a long, joyous life.

  14. #14


    If you are just looking for a tan glow, just get spray tanned for the color and use good sunscreen when you are on the beach or by the pool. It is really not worth the stress. You already sound uncomfortable about it. So don't give it another thought.

    Have a wonderful vacation!!!

  15. #15


    I personally think the Neutrogena SPF with the helioplex works the best.

  16. #16


    I have heard that Bullfrog gel sunscreen is excellent.

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