By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute
Although I occasionally try to balance the messages about tanning beds, this blog is meant neither to discourage nor promote their use. The readers should make up their minds after weighing the evidence. In a recent blog, I mentioned some positive messages about tanning-bed use, which included the following: Note: all references for the following list are found in the blog under footnote 1.
- Tanning-bed use is associated with a reduced risk of clots.
- Tanning-bed use is associated with increased vitamin D levels.
- Tanning-bed use is associated with stronger bones
- Tanning-bed use can cure psoriasis and eczema and tanning beds are often recommended by dermatologists.
- Tanning-bed use more than three times yearly is associated with a 40-50% reduced risk of endometrial cancer.
- Tanning-bed use is associated to lower breast-cancer risk.
After I posted the above information, a friend from Canada reminded me of research by Dr. Pelle Lindqvist and his colleagues, which demonstrated that both sun exposure and tanning-bed exposure reduced the risk of death during a 20-year study. Women who used tanning beds were 23% less likely to die of any cause than women who did not use them.
In addition, I remembered an older study that showed that tanning beds were able to take winter vitamin D levels up to summer levels in a period of five weeks.
So, along with the bad rap tanning beds are receiving, there is some good news. Who wouldn’t want to live longer in better health? Still, as with all decisions, weigh the evidence and then decide.
 Lindqvist P. Epstein E, Landin-Olsson M, Ingvar C, Nielsen K, Stenbeck M, Olsson H. Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality: Results from the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort
 Moan J, Lagunova Z, Cicarma E, Aksnes L, Dahlback A, Grant WB, Porojnicu AC. Sunbeds as vitamin D sources. Photochem Photobiol. 2009 Nov-Dec;85(6):1474-9.