Yes, you can get a burn from a tanning bed. In fact, over 3,000 people a year end up on the emergency room in the United States from skin burns, fainting and eye injuries suffered from indoor tanning, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine. Tanning beds are blamed for more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer a year, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What does the tanning industry say about tanning beds?

Since the tanning bed industry has come under fire for the potential for injuries through tanning bed use, it has made the following claims about the safety of tanning beds:

  • It is better to get a base tan using a tanning bed than to go out in the sun when pale and get a bad sunburn. FALSE
  • Tanning beds do not emit UV radiation. FALSE
  • People do not get sunburns from using tanning beds. FALSE

What is the truth about these claims?

The Mayo Clinic and the CDC refute the claims above, and instead state the following truths about using tanning beds:

  • FACT: A base tan in either case is not safe. A base tan is only equivalent to wearing 4 SPF which does not do enough to protect your skin from a sunburn; instead, a base tan is simply skin damage from UV rays. In fact, a person who has used a tanning bed is MORE likely to get a sunburn when going outdoors.
  • FACT: Tanning beds DO emit UV radiation. People assume they are safe because they often spend less time in tanning beds than they do outside, but tanning beds emit high levels of UV radiation for a short period of time, which can damage skin more quickly.
  • FACT: Thousands of people a year get burns from tanning beds. In fact, according to the JAMA study, 80 percent of ER visits for tanning bed injuries involved severe burns. People can either sustain skin or eye burns. Eye burns caused by tanning beds increase the chance of developing cataracts.

What types of burns can I sustain from a tanning bed?

You may sustain a first-, second-, or third-degree burn from using a tanning bed. First- and second-degree burns are more common. A first-degree burn is a mild, superficial burn that does not blister or scar. Second-degree burns blister and frequently scar. Tanning bed burns can be particularly unpleasant because they often cover a high percentage of the skin. Unlike laying out in the sun, a tanning bed can burn you on the front and back of your body at the same time.

Because tanning beds are usually in rooms with privacy, people wear little to nothing when in a tanning bed, which also exposes areas of the body that ordinarily do not get sun exposure. This can lead to painful, dangerous burns that often require medical attention.

Can I recover compensation for my tanning bed burn?

Experiencing a sunburn before the age of 20 puts a person at significantly higher risk of developing skin cancer later in life. For this reason, many places ban the use of tanning beds by people who are under the age of 18.

If a tanning salon allowed a person under a certain age to use its services or if it behaved negligently and caused your burn, you might be able to hold it liable for your injuries. This can allow you to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, mental anguish, body image issues, and social anxiety.

You do not need to handle this on your own. If you or a loved one was burned in a tanning bed, we can help. Contact our legal referral specialists at 844-549-8774 to get connected to a lawyer who can help you with your claim.