Instead of heading to the beach or into the sun, I have many patients who opt for the tanning salon to get a “base tan.” It’s a common misconception that a “base tan” will protect the skin from burning or sun damage, but in fact, getting a “base tan” in a tanning bed may be even worse than natural sunlight.
When your skin tans, the change in its color is a protective response to the reaction of exposure to UV radiation. The skin is injured the same way with a “base tan” as it is when it endures prolonged sun exposure. The effects may be even worse with such focused, intense UV radiation in a tanning bed. This ‘base tanning’ misconception may lead to sunburn in the short term and/or skin cancer, wrinkles and uneven color or texture down the road, which is what the tanner thought they were avoiding in the first place!