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‘No safe number’ of trips to the tanning bed, says Kelowna doctor as winter approaches

UVA rays in tanning beds can be 15 times higher than sun exposure
(Pixabay image)

Too many visits to the tanning bed in your 20s will likely result in wrinkles, spots, and other skin issues by your 60s.

Dr. Ben Wiese from the Kelowna Skin Cancer Clinic says there is no safe number when it comes to frequency of visits to tanning beds and your best bet for healthier skin is to skip it completely.

“It’s that ultra-violet radiation from tanning beds that causes skin cancer,” Wiese says. “The tanning beds are designed to mimic sunlight, specifically the UVA and UVB rays. What is interesting is that UVA from tanning beds are typically 10 to 15 times greater than the sun and that usually would equal a UV index of 13.”

Wiese says that level is considered extreme, meaning every visit to a tanning bed is well above safe levels.

“What is even more alarming is especially when a tanning bed gets new bulbs. That equals to a UV index of 36, so way, way, way stronger compared to just a regular day.”

This is the time of year people are eager to get rid of their pasty complexion.

Wiese says the safest way to darken the skin is with tanning lotions.

“At least we’ve got good news there that we have very good evidence to show that our artificial tanning that we get from a bottle is safe. There’s no risk of it causing skin cancer. And lucky these days, the formulations, it has changed quite significantly. You’re not going to be the typical yellow or orange or all the stripes and all those kind of things… There are really good products available.”

Wiese also says sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 50 on a daily basis, even in the winter.

“The culprit is daylight, not sunshine.”

At the end of the day though, Wiese says the best way to protect your skin is with clothing.

Learn more about UV rays and other risk factors at

READ MORE: Childcare coming to Kelowna Airport, opportunities to study early childhood education


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Brittany Webster

About the Author: Brittany Webster

A video journalist with Black Press Media. I recently made the exciting move from my radio anchor position at AM 1150 to this new venture.
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