Do tanning beds increase the risk of melanoma?

Q. Do people using tanning beds end up with melanoma?

Answered by
Dr. Asmeet Kaur Sawhney
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 15, 2016 and last reviewed on: Jul 04, 2023

Hi doctor,

From when I was 17 years old I have used tanning beds on and off up until I was 22. I was not aware of the risks. Through the internet, I learned about the risks. I got to know that it is inevitable and that will develop melanoma at some point. Do most people who use tanning beds end up with melanoma? My skin looks and feels healthy and I only have about four to five moles on my body and a few freckles. Melanoma does not run in my family. I have green eyes, but tan very easily. I rarely ever burn. Are my risks still very high from my tanning bed use? I did not notice any change in my moles at all and I now use sunscreen every day.



Welcome to

It is not necessary that everyone who uses a tanning bed will develop melanoma. It varies from person to person depending on the risk factors. Not everyone who uses a tanning bed develops melanoma. Moreover, you do not seem to have any risk factors and all your moles appear normal (attachment removed to protect patient identity). But, you should keep an eye on these moles. If they show a sudden increase in size, shape, change in color, bleeding, oozing or discharge, then these are danger marks. So, you need to be cautious if any mole shows changes. Also use a broad spectrum sunscreen at intervals of three to four hours during the daytime. As of now, I think you are normal and no need to worry.

Thank you doctor,

When I read online it says that if you use a tanning bed before 35, then your risk increases 75 to 90 %. Does this mean I have a 90 % chance of developing it?



Welcome back to

There is definitely an increased risk of melanoma occurrence, but the data available online is not absolutely correct. The percentage of 75 to 90 is too high. The figures you are quoting seem to be exaggerated. You need not worry, but definitely avoid using tanning beds in the future.

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