Tanning bed and nail lamp use and the risk of cutaneous malignancy: a review of the literature

Australas J Dermatol. 2014 May;55(2):99-106. doi: 10.1111/ajd.12145. Epub 2014 Mar 5.


Malignant melanoma (MM) and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) are increasingly common and both can be fatal. In 2009 the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the whole ultraviolet spectrum and tanning beds as carcinogenic to humans, placing them in the same category as asbestos and tobacco. Despite this, the trend for indoor tanning continues. A growing body of evidence has now associated indoor tanning with an increased risk of MM and NMSC. As a result, there has been an upsurge in regulations in the tanning industry ranging from age restrictions to complete bans on commercial tanning. This article examines the evidence and strengthens the case for a complete ban of a recognised modifiable risk factor for cutaneous malignancy.

Keywords: BCC; NMSC; SCC; artificial UV; cutaneous malignancy; melanoma; nail lamp; non-melanoma skin cancer; solarium; sunlamps; tanning bed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Beauty Culture
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / epidemiology*
  • Melanoma / etiology
  • Nails
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Tanning* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*