Tanning Beds and Sunlight as Treatments for Skin Disease

Tanning Beds and Sunlight as Treatments for Skin Disease

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Some common-sense scientists understand that UV light is nearly 100% effective for many dermatological conditions, and that tanning beds are very convenient sources of UV for patients who cannot otherwise afford the rigorous travel and time commitments necessary to visit the dermatologist.[i] Their investigation involved an arduous search for scientific papers that reported on tanning beds and their salutary affects on different skin diseases.

The searches showed convincingly that tanning beds were a valid use for psoriasis, but also indicated tanning beds could be useful “as a treatment option for atopic dermatitis, mycosis fungoides, acne, scleroderma, vitiligo, and pruritus, as well as other UV sensitive dermatoses.”

The conclusion they reached was amazing, considering negative reports that are regularly touted by the press. They stated: “Unsupervised sun exposure is a standard recommendation for some patients to obtain phototherapy. Selected use of commercial tanning beds in the treatment of dermatologic conditions may be another useful and effective treatment for those patients with an inability to access office-based or home-based phototherapy.”[Italics mine]

One of the dermatologists who recommends unsupervised sun exposure as stated above is Dr. Julie Moore of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. She says that sunlight is one of the best ways to treat psoriasis, so she recommends that her patients “sit out on the deck and give their affected areas a good sun bath.[ii]

Hallelujah! Common sense is beginning to penetrate the dermatology profession, as more dermatologists are climbing on the sunlight bandwagon each year. Now go and spend some safe, non-burning time in the sunlight!

[i] Radack KP, Farhangian ME, Anderson KL, Feldman SR. A review of the use of tanning beds as a dermatological treatment. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2015 Mar;5(1):37-51.

[ii] Science News, August 6, 2013. Summer sun good for psoriasis sufferers says Gottlieb dermatologist.

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