Sunbed myths

Girl using a sunbed

Using sunbeds is not a safe way to get a tan.

It exposes your skin to large amounts of UV rays that age your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer.

There are many myths about sunbeds. Let’s bust some of them right now!

Health myths about sunbeds

Myth: I have used sunbeds for years. The damage is done!

Your skin may well be damaged from sunbed use but don’t make it worse by continuing to use them.

A much better plan is to stop using sunbeds and start checking your skin every month for changes that could be skin cancer.  

Spotting melanoma early could save your life.  If you are not sure how to check your skin here is information that should help. 

You could also talk to your doctor if you are worried.

Myth: Sunbeds are great to clear acne

Boy using a sunbed

Don’t use a sunbed to help clear acne.

You could get more than you bargained for! Sunbed use is strongly linked to melanoma skin cancer.

A better way to deal with acne is to talk to your doctor about it.

Myth: It’s a healthy way to top up my vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for general healthy. 

Our body makes it when skin is exposed to UV rays. You can also get vitamin D from your diet and by taking supplements. 

While sunbeds may help raise your vitamin D levels they are also linked to an increased risk of melanoma.

For this reason our advice is not to use sunbeds to help boost your vitamin D level. Choose a healthier option for getting vitamin D.

Myth: If I don’t burn I am safe using a sunbed

Even if your skin does not burn after using a sunbed your risk of melanoma is greater. Don’t risk it.

Myths about safe tanning

Myth: Sunbed tanning is safer than sun tanning

Getting a tan for a sunbed is not safer than a tan from being outdoors, even if done gradually.

The level of UV exposure from sunbeds can be up to 15 times higher than the midday Mediterranean sun.

Because of this your risk of melanoma skin cancer is greater.  

Myth: Getting a base tan from sunbeds before going on holidays is a smart thing to do

Sunbed tans give very little protection against further skin damage from natural UV exposure.

It is equal to sunscreen with SPF 2-4, and won’t keep you safe. Using anything less than SPF 30 will not give you the protection you need.

Myth: All sunburns are not the same

Many people believe that your skin is sunburnt when it is very red, sore and blistered.

The truth is if your skin goes pink from sunbeds or the sun it is sunburnt. As a result your risk of skin cancer is greater

Beauty myths about sunbeds

Myth: Tanned skin is a sign that I am healthy

Tanned skin is damaged skin trying to protect itself from further UV damage.

Whether you tan from a sunbed or the sun your risk of skin cancer and skin ageing is increased. 

Myth: Sunbeds keep me looking young and healthy

Sunbeds cause skin to wrinkle, sag and generally lose its elasticity.

These skin changes are mostly not reversible, except by surgery.

Myths: Sunbeds don’t affect young skin – it’s an issue for old people

Man using a sunbed

Using a sunbed for the first time before the age of 35 increases your risk of developing melanoma by almost sixty percent.

Sunbeds also cause skin ageing. Use them and your skin will more than likely sag and get wrinkles earlier than your friends who choose not to.

The use of sunbeds In Ireland is now controlled by law. Find out more about sunbeds, the law and cancer.

Read next: Keeping kids safe in the sun.

Date Last Reviewed: 
Monday, April 30, 2018