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Hello,

I am thinking I need to get a tan fast so I was gonna go for some sessions at the tanning place. I wanna protect my skin from harmful UV rays but also look baked ASAP. So two questions. Does sunscreen actually prevent the pigment that gives you a tan, so do you actually not get a tan as quick if you use it? And second does sunscreen work at all in a tanning bed or is it all useless anyway since you're so close to the whole thing? I'm really curious here about how to keep safe and still get a tan. 

Cheers

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You know what? And this is scary info that you may not have heard, but here goes... Everyone knows that sun beds increase your risk of skin cancer including malignant melanoma. What you probably don't know (or you wouldn't be considering tanning in a sun bed at all!!!) is that just using a sun bed ONCE A MONTH, yeah, once, actually increases your risk of skin cancer 55 times. Sun beds ain't safe, people. Plenty of research to back that one up, I'm afraid! Don't do it. Just use fake tan already there's plenty of good ones on the market these days. 

PS tanning with sunscreen is going to be SAFER, but not SAFE.

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Ehm, nope. Sun beds are never safe, no matter whether you use a sunscreen or not. Exposing yourself to too much natural sunlight is not safe either and definitely increases your skin cancer risk, but, being a feature of life on this planet and people having to go out and do stuff on it, well, at least you can protect yourself with a good sunscreen. Sun beds do not fall in the same category. Nobody has to use a sun bed. If you are not afraid of skin cancer, know that sun beds increase the rate at which your skin ages really fast too. Who wants to be old and wrinkly before their time? Give sun beds a miss, and be happy with your skin color, I say.
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So, the basic science of tanning beds is that they're composed mostly of UVA rays. That's the type that causes a tan. UVB rays is what causes you to get sunburned and there's less of that in tanning beds, so you run less of a risk of being sunburned but hey, UVA rays actually do more damage to your skin long term. Using a sunscreen will help some, but still you'll end up with long term damage if you do it regularly. This damage isn't visible to the naked eye at first but when you age, rather than looking great, tanning bed use is going to make you look worn out and old before your time. That isn't sexy. Say no to tanning beds, LOL.
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I am not sure whether replying to a thread in which good replies have already been given is necessary — I don't usually do that. But I do feel the need to contribute, if only to bump this thread so more people get the chance to see it. Tanning beds are very bad news. The idea that sunscreen prevents you from developing skin cancer — which I assume is what is really being asked here — if you use a tanning bed is a myth that needs to die, yesterday. Your skin is lovely the way it is, and you shouldn't even be asking these questions because tanning beds are bad all round. I just had to say that. Do not use a tanning bed. Definitely not without sunscreen, but not even with it. 

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OK, to answer a question nobody has answered yet. SUNBLOCK does a great deal to prevent UV rays from getting to the skin altogether and yes, prevents you from tanning. SUNSCREEN is different. It prevents sunburn and some harmful effects but you can still tan. If you are going to go tanning in a sun bed anyway, which I suspect you may, it's always better to use sunscreen than not to use it. Getting a tan completely safely requires tanning lotions though and they can look extremely natural. If you haven't tried them yet just give them a chance and see how you get on.
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Indoor tanning is very dangerous. Every time you use a tanning bed, you:

  • Increase your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma. The younger you are when you start tanning like this, the higher your risk. 
  • Age a little, and much faster than you otherwise would.
  • Contribute to a leather-like skin in the future. 
  • Put your eyesight at risk. 

Base tans are a myth, just in case anyone was wondering. Having a tan does not protect you from further damage and indoor tanning is more dangerous than natural tanning. Like everyone else already said, this is something you should simply skip. 

Rosie

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The very same aspect of UV rays that cause you to get skin cancer is the same one that is responsible for giving you a tan as well. The short answer to this all too frequently posed question is, then, that yes, it is possible to use a sunscreen in a tanning bed but it wouldn't eliminate all the danger and more importantly, it would prevent you from tanning, making the whole process incredibly pointless. You want to get a spray tan if you are desperate to look tanned while still taking your own safety into account. Spray tans look very natural these days.
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Wait, what? Is this topic for real?

Tanning is bad for you, period. And you know what else? If you read around a good bit, you can also find very reputable sources that warn you that it's not just tanning that is bad for you, but also many sunscreens. Indeed, frequent use of commercial sunscreens has been linked with an increased incidence of cancer all by itself and I am not kidding. Look for yourself. 

I'm not sure of the safety of fake tans either, but I'm suspecting that if you want to look buff, they are going to be much less risky than actually tanning in a sunbed or in the sun for that matter, with a sunscreen. Staying out of harm's way by avoiding those nasty UV rays is the way to go. 

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Yes, sunscreen is still effective in a tanning bed. No, using a sunscreen will not totally prevent you from tanning, as anyone who has ever used one while spending long hours outside in the sun should know, even if they have never used a tanning bed. Using tanning beds is still a bad idea, but if you feel the need, (as I did years ago when my neck and back were hurting and someone told me tanning beds would help with the pain) then going in with a sunscreen is doubtless better than going in without one, skin cancer wise.
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