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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Dec;53(6):1038-44.

The indoor UV tanning industry: a review of skin cancer risk, health benefit claims, and regulation.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, State University New York Downstate Medical Center, New York 11203, USA.



Nearly 30 million people tan indoors in the United States annually, including 2.3 million adolescents. Despite increased evidence on the dangers of artificial UV radiation, the popularity of indoor tanning is growing.


We aim to assess the following 3 entities: (1) the association of indoor tanning with skin cancer; (2) statements regarding the health benefits of indoor tanning, especially regarding the production of vitamin D; and (3) current regulation of the tanning industry in the United States.


We conducted a narrative review of the literature.


Indoor tanning poses great risks. Studies support the role of artificial UV radiation in cutaneous carcinogenesis. Despite claims by the tanning industry, artificial tanning is not a safe or necessary way to increase systemic vitamin D levels. The National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have acknowledged the risks of indoor tanning. Nonetheless, regulations limiting tanning in the United States are surprisingly sparse.


Systematic review of the literature was not performed.


Health care providers must increase efforts to warn and educate the public and government about the dangers of UV radiation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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