The Only Safe Tan is A Fake Tan

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IMG_1740Our *weekly Q & A with Dr. Jo Herzog will address the following question submitted by a Family Savvy reader.

Dr. Herzog, is the tanning salon OK if I have dark spots?

Dr. Jo Herzog

Wow! Thanks for that loaded question.

I don’t think that a tanning bed is good for anyone with or without “spots.” Tanning increases the risk of skin cancer, and the tanning industry has helped us think of dark as beautiful. Tanning seems to become a habit, and those that tan on a regular basis would be expected to be at increased risk of skin cancer.

Tanning beds do NOT prevent or protect from sunburn. In fact, I saw a patient just this week who was BURNED from the tanning bed. She just wanted to get her tan started a bit early, but unfortunately, she ended up burned.

If you want to go to the pool looking sun kissed and brown, there are other options.  Get a spray tan, or use a self tanning cream that darkens you slowly day by day. Jergens Natural Glow is one good one, but there are many others that do a wonderful job of giving skin a nice tan–safely.

If your dark spots are freckles or lentigines, then sun exposure has already contributed to their presence. If you have a lot of dark moles, then you might want to be even more careful. It might be hard to make a very early diagnosis of melanoma in someone covered with lots of moles, especially if he or she has a tan and does not see a dermatologist regularly.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There only safe tan is a fake tan!

* As always, Dr. Herzog is happy to answer any questions regarding skin, hair, nails, or cosmetic procedures that are submitted to her through Family Savvy. Keep the questions coming!


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