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Tanning Beds Vs. The Sun: Top 5 Things to Consider

Spring has sprung, and with the longer days people are starting to think about the golden summer sun. But before implementing your ‘bronzed beauty’ strategy, you might want to check in with your dermatologist!

“Pale doesn’t have to mean pasty,” Dr. Miriam Hanson, board certified dermatologist and skin care expert in Austin, Texas chants. That tends to be the mantra around here at Sanova Dermatology. “The truth is, for the healthiest and most vibrant skin, tanning is not the way to go.”

“Whether it’s anti-aging or skin cancer prevention, I encourage all of my patients to protect their skin from the sun and harmful UV rays as much as possible,” notes Dr. Adam Mamelak, the Mohs micrographic surgeon at Sanova. Recently, Dermatologists from around the country were polled and agreed sunscreen was the number one anti-aging cream that should be used to rejuvenate the skin, ensure a youthful appearance, and protection from the sun.

Still skeptical? Here’s some info that may (or may not) change your mind about stepping into the tanning salon or laying out poolside:

  1. Light from the sun and tanning beds both contain UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) ultraviolet rays.
  2. Regardless of how you obtain your UV rays, they are still going to increase your chances of acquiring a skin cancers like Melanoma, Squamous Carcinoma and Basal Cell Carcinoma.
  3. Tanning beds can give up to 3x more UVA exposure than natural sun.
  4. Men are at a greater risk for skin cancers, yet women are still in the lead when it comes to most cases of skin cancers.
  5. If we didn’t mention it before, UV rays not only cause skin cancers, they also cause: sunburn, photo aging, and skin discoloration.


“Broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least a 30 will help protect your skin from the suns rays, especially if you’re going to be outside for periods longer than 15-30 minutes,” says Dr. Mamelak.

Sunscreen is also not impermeable to sweat and water. Make sure to reapply as necessary when coming into contact with elements that would remove or dilute sunscreen’s sun protection. “This is especially important with kids,” says Dr. Hanson. “With all the outdoor activities that come with spring and summer, I advise parents to ensure they reapply every 40-80 minutes.”

Stay Sun Safe. Make sure to check yourself for signs of anything abnormal after prolonged time in the sun. Always take into consideration the needs of your body when you are having a great day at the beach or pool. It can make a big difference!


To learn more about the signs of sun damage and the best approach to protect yourself, contact us to set up a consultation with one of the physicians at Sanova Dermatology.

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