Safer ways to get tan without damaging your skin - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Safer ways to get tan without damaging your skin

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TRI-CITIES, WA - Tan skin is ultimately a result of damaged skin cells. Doctors say people who use tanning beds before the age of 35 are increasing their chances of getting cancer by 75 percent.

"Tanning beds as well as tanning booths and sun lamps all expose you to UV radiation, which is one of the major risk factors for developing skin cancer," said Dr. Guy Jones, Radiation Oncologist at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center. "And not just skin cancer, but also sort of age spots and wrinkles, other things that can affect the cosmetic appearance of your skin."

Tanning beds give off two types of ultraviolet rays: UVA, which causes the skin to age; and UVB, which causes the skin to tan. Both rays are harmful to the skin and can be the cause of skin cancer down the road.

The alternative to tanning beds is sunless tanning. Self-tanners or getting a spray tan can give your skin the same golden look you would get from a bed, without exposing it to those harmful UV rays.

Sunless tanning products are commonly sold as lotions, creams, and spray that can be easily applied to the skin. But remember these don't work as a sunscreen, so you still need to apply that before going out in the sun.