Is there any instance in which a doctor would recommend a tanning bed as a psoriasis treatment? “Tanning beds may be invoked — emphasis on the word may — in very rare cases when someone could not regularly come to the derm office to get this treatment. It would follow a very deliberate decision and evaluation of the person’s skin history, such as risk of skin cancer,” explains Dr. Gohara. “Tanning bed use can increase this risk tremendously and should not be used casually in any circumstances.”
Dr. Geraghty calls tanning beds “a fast-track to skin cancer” and reiterates what we’ve long known: They’re harmful to the skin in a plethora of ways, including premature aging and an increased risk of skin cancer.
That increased skin cancer risk is staggering. “Using tanning beds before age 20 can increase your chances of developing melanoma by 47%, and the risk increases with each use,” according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). The UV light that is emitted from tanning beds “contains an extremely harmful portion of UV light that is related to skin burning, skin premature aging, but most importantly, a real increased risk of non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers,” says board-certified dermatologist Melanie Palm.
Kardashian also showed followers a red light bed in her office. “Red LED light is trendy… It seems fairly benign and is not considered damaging to the skin like UV light,” says Dr. Geraghty. Kardashian didn’t specify what she uses it for, but Dr. Geraghty notes that “it is not a well established treatment for psoriasis.”
If you’re struggling with psoriasis, there is potential relief outside the tanning salon. “The wide variety of new topical treatments, biologic therapies [to help quiet overactive immune systems], and other treatment modalities, including lifestyle modification, are a much safer and effective means of controlling psoriasis,” says Dr. Palm.
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