Why Your Tanning Bed Might Give You Herpes

If the UV exposure isn't enough to scare you away, listen to this.

woman in tanning bed ESB Professional / Shutterstock

Summer is on its way so you might be tempted to make an appointment with your favorite tanning salon, but it's time to rethink that.

If you want to get tan, why not have some fun while doing it. Do it while you're at the pool and the kiddos are playing in the water.

Pick a good book and relax out in the sun and read it. Go for a hike and appreciate the nature all around you. Always wear sunscreen when you do this of course. And if you decide to tan this way, it looks a lot more natural ob you, and this way you earned the tan.


Because not only is your desire for the perfect bronze glow harmful to your skin, but it also puts you at risk of contracting a burning case of ... genital herpes.

Is being a little darker even worth the risk. Not to mention all of the other diseases you could get from a tanning bed, including cancer. Maybe it's time to start sticking to tanning lotions. 

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Um, enough said. No more tanning for us. I've never really been a person who tans anyways, and all the people I have seen who go to tanning salons always look darker than they're supposed to. Just another reason to be more natural this summer.

Dawn Marie Davies is Mayo Clinic's associate professor of dermatology, and according to her you might be seriously putting your sexual health at risk by using tanning beds. Herpes can live outside of the body and therefore can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. Davies has personally seen people fall victim to the infection transmitted through tanning beds.

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"I've seen acquired bacterial infections, warts, and herpes infections from tanning beds. Ultraviolet light can, theoretically, kill germs but it's not enough to kill germs on the tanning bed," Davies tells Yahoo.


"When you use the ultraviolet light over and over again — and the tanning bed lights are on for multiple hours a day — if the bacteria or virus is exposed to some antiseptic but not enough to kill it, or some light but not enough to kill it, it can grow stronger and then it becomes resistant," explains Davies.

There's a good chance that the person who used the tanning booth before you wasn't the cleanest person, or the person before them. There's an even bigger chance that the person who works there doesn't do the best job of cleaning either. 

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Yeah...no. Where's the closest spray-tan booth? I'll take that over a chance of getting an infection any day.


If this article hasn't convinced you to not go to a tanning booth and the idea of any kind of infection doesn't scare you, then at least try to not go as dark as you can.

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Nicole Weaver is a love and entertainment writer. Find her on Twitter for more.