Tanning bed accidents send thousands to the ER every year – according to CBS News. By now, we all know the risks of tanning, especially tanning indoors. Indoor (and outdoor) tanning puts oneself at a heightened risk for developing skin cancer not only later in life but at any time. And if that wasn’t cause for concern enough, there have been plenty of accidents involving tanning beds that have led to thousands of emergency room visits. In fact, as previously mentioned, an average of 3,234 people end up in the ER each year due to injuries related to tanning indoors.
Even if you’re not an avid user of these beds, that doesn’t mean you’re not causing your skin any harm. Each time you slide in, you’re exposing your body to high levels of UV radiation – also known as, carcinogens – which cause cancer. So next time you see your neighbor sporting a new glow, realize that it’s much healthier to be a bit paler or to try a spray tan. Sun damage doesn’t look so hot at 50 and cancer won’t feel great either. And if that’s not enough to scare you, maybe reading a little about 15 of the tanning bed accidents, mishaps and injuries will.
Yes, you read that correctly. In 2013, it was reported that a woman actually fell into a tanning bed. The acrylic had already been cracked and salon workers were to direct only “smaller” people into that bed. But when Lora Lee was in the middle of her tanning session she fell right onto the floor suffering a strained rotator cuff, neck and back injuries. So, not only do you have to worry about skin cancer, you can worry about the glass breaking too.
Did you know that you can actually contract herpes from a tanning bed? In an article by the LA Times, one doctor reported seeing an estimate of 5 patients that had contracted herpes simplex, a contagious viral skin rash which produces painful blisters, allegedly from tanning beds that have not been properly sterilizers in between guests. This is just another nook of the indoor tanning world that you may not be thinking about as you head in for a quick 10 minute session.
In 1989 a woman suffered 3rd degree burns after visiting a tanning salon, resulting later in her death. LA Times explains that this particular lady was on medication that increased her sensitivity to light, which really spotlights how people have to think about their actions and what they’re doing to their bodies and overall health when it comes to sacrificing for “beauty.” Sometimes a mishap is more than just a mistake and can lead to something so much worse.
A lot of people don't associate the word “cancer,” with young, free and lively 20-year-olds, but it happens. For example, Tawny Willoughby grew up going to the tanning bed 4-5 times a week in high school – according to Fox. And now, at 27, she decided to show the world what can happen when you discard skin care. Her raw photo was taken after one of her many cancer treatments where dermatologists removed a cancerous piece of skin.
The same article that tells us of the woman who passed away in 1989 also tells us of another young lady who made a mistake that could have left her with a similar fate. At 18-years-old, Julie, went in to sign a waiver (which includes warnings, consulting a doctor if on certain medications, etc) before deciding to jump into a tanning bed. A few weeks later, on antibiotics that can cause sensitivity to light, she wasn’t asked to sign the same form (she was a repeat customer) so she didn’t have a second thought before tanning for 20 minutes. Waking up the next day she had severe blisters all over her upper body.
Tanning salons are also a prime spot for peeping Toms. Of course, this can happen at home, in fitting rooms, public restrooms and the like, but it’s also just another reason to add to the list of why not to partake in the skin damaging “beauty” treatment. In April of 2015, a man was sentenced to 90 days in prison after being found guilty of attempted voyeurism at a tanning salon.
How does getting trapped inside a tanning bed sound to you? Not only did someone have this happen to her, she was cut in the process and had to call 9-1-1! Inside a stand-up bed, NBC Philadelphia reported that a woman tried to free herself after bulbs broke while tanning. And as she was trying to get out even more bulbs broke resulting in several cuts to her body. Although the tanning salon tells the story a little differently, this situation is terrifying
You may even “accidentally” lead yourself into developing cataracts or eye melanoma later in life as well. Not only are you hurting your skin while tanning, but the UV exposure is damaging your eyes too – especially for those who decide to forgo the protective goggles. According to Yahoo Health, eye injuries from intensive ultraviolet light found in tanning beds will increase your risk of for these issues later in life.
In 2012, Daily Mail told the story of a woman found dead inside her personal tanning bed at home. Face down, laying for more than a day, Rhonda Waits’ body was discovered by her boyfriend. Although the bed was off, as it operated on a timer, there was no indication at the time that her death was caused by the tanning even though, as far as her family knew, there was nothing physically wrong with her. This scenario just adds even more uncertainty to what’s become a hobby to a lot of people around the globe, in particularly the U.S.
As mentioned previously, laying in a tanning bed could cause other types of harm other than skin damage. You could be lying in a dirty bed and walk out with lice, jock itch, athlete’s foot, a staph infection, warts and, as we've learned, even herpes. NBC reports, although it’s hard to prove that something came from a particular tanning bed (as these bacteria could be on a toilet seat), salons are also a place where these strains flourish, especially when sweating and heat is involved.
At just 34-years-old, Tricia’s hairdresser spotted a mole behind her ear. Her dermatologist froze it off but just a year later it had grown back, again seen by her hairdresser, but this time coming in with a green/blue color. This story, told by Women’s Health, is one of plenty. Tricia was diagnosed with melanoma and had to have the cancer removed (she had tanned several times a week from 14 to 21-years-old) – along with it went the top quarter of her ear. The melanoma returned again and the doctor had to remove a third of her earlobe.
Here’s a tanning “accident” that will happen to most salon-goers. That glow they’re all sporting as they leave their beds is actually a physical representation of the damage that’s just been done to their DNA. And that tan is really just a full body scab on your skin. That doesn’t sound too beautiful or healthy does it? Women’s Health reports that this hobby literally fries the upper layers of one’s skin, so next time you “accidentally” get burnt think about these facts before stepping inside.
Kasey Shriver was 17 when she was diagnosed with cancer. She was used to tanning to “look good” along with everything else a typical teenager does: go to school, play sports and hang out with friends. But when she had to have surgery with a follow up of chemotherapy, she started thinking twice about the true importance of getting a base tan and looking good in a bathing suit.
You may even feel a bit more insecure or insulted next time you step into a tanning salon. A woman in Ohio tried one tanning session, bought a $70 package and the very next day was turned away due to a newly implemented weight limit on their traditional beds. She was told that no one over 230 pounds was allowed in their traditional, lay-down beds and wouldn’t be receiving a refund.
When a light over a tanning bed exploded at a tanning salon, a fire broke out and destroyed an entire commercial complex. A teenager, Peyton Herdman, was inside the tanning bed when the bulb busted and she realized the acrylic was on fire. By the time the young lady got dressed and ran out to alert the staff, the room was completely engulfed in flames.