Is Tanning Bed Good for Eczema? Exploring the Relationship between Tanning Beds and Eczema

Hello there! Are you one of those people who suffer from eczema and feel like there is no end to the itchiness and discomfort? Well, there might be good news for you! A tanning bed might just be the answer you’ve been looking for. Shocking right? But it’s true. Experts say that exposure to UV light from tanning beds can actually help soothe eczema symptoms. So, if you’ve been considering using tanning beds for your eczema, keep reading.

Eczema can be a painful and frustrating condition to deal with. Dry, flaky, and itchy skin can often make life very uncomfortable for those who suffer from it. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for eczema, but it can be treated. Over time, various treatments have been used to alleviate eczema symptoms, and tanning beds may be one of them. Several studies have shown that the use of tanning beds can significantly reduce eczema symptoms, bringing much-needed relief to sufferers.

But before you head off to the nearest tanning salon, it is important to understand what causes eczema and how tanning beds work on the skin. Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that occurs in response to internal and external triggers. Tanning beds use UV light to darken the skin, causing it to produce more of the pigment melanin. The increased pigmentation can potentially heal the damaged skin, reducing eczema triggers. Although tanning beds bring great benefits, excessive use of tanning beds can increase the risk of skin cancer and other adverse effects.

What is eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a chronic and recurring disease that is characterized by dry, itchy, and red patches on the skin. Eczema can occur on any part of the body, but it is most commonly found on the face, hands, feet, elbows, and knees.

The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with eczema have a weak skin barrier that allows irritants and allergens to penetrate the skin, leading to inflammation and itching.

There are several types of eczema, each with its own unique set of symptoms. The most common type is atopic dermatitis, which usually begins in childhood and is linked to other allergic conditions such as asthma and hay fever. Other types of eczema include contact dermatitis, which is caused by an allergic reaction to a particular substance, and nummular dermatitis, which appears as coin-shaped patches on the skin.

Causes of eczema

Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become inflamed, itchy, and irritated. It is not contagious, and its exact cause is still unknown. However, there are several factors that are believed to contribute to the development of eczema:

  • Genetics: Eczema tends to run in families, and genetic factors may play a role in its development. People who have a family history of eczema, allergies, or asthma are more likely to develop the condition themselves.
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to certain environmental factors such as allergens, irritants, and pollutants can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms. These include dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mold, detergents, and harsh soaps.
  • Immune system dysfunction: Eczema is believed to be caused by an overactive immune system that responds abnormally to environmental triggers, resulting in inflammation and itching.
  • Stress: Stress can worsen eczema symptoms by triggering the release of inflammatory chemicals in the body.
  • Hormones: Hormonal changes can also affect eczema symptoms, particularly in women. Flare-ups may occur during menstruation or pregnancy.

It is important to note that while these factors may contribute to the development of eczema, not everyone who exhibits them will develop the condition. Eczema is a complex condition that is influenced by a variety of individual factors, and its causes are still not fully understood.

Types of Eczema

Eczema is an umbrella term for a group of skin conditions that cause inflammation and irritation. It is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide, and there are various types of eczema that can develop in different parts of the body and with different symptoms. Here are the most common types of eczema:

  • Atopic dermatitis: This is the most common type of eczema, and it is often found in people with a family history of allergies. Atopic dermatitis causes red, itchy, and inflamed skin that can develop into scaly patches.
  • Contact dermatitis: This type of eczema develops when the skin comes into contact with a particular irritant or allergen. It can cause red, itchy, and burning skin that can develop blisters or crust over.
  • Nummular eczema: This type of eczema causes round or oval-shaped patches of irritated skin that can be itchy and scaly. It is also known as discoid eczema.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema: This type of eczema causes small itchy blisters on the hands and feet. The blisters can be filled with fluid and can burst, leaving cracks in the skin.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis: This type of eczema causes greasy, red, and scaly patches on the skin, usually on the scalp, face, and chest. It is also known as cradle cap in babies and dandruff in adults.

The Relationship between Tanning Bed and Eczema

Tanning beds may seem like a tempting solution for people with eczema who want to reduce inflammation or improve the appearance of their skin. However, experts generally advise against using tanning beds to treat eczema because of the potential hazards that come with tanning. Additionally, researchers have found that tanning can actually worsen eczema symptoms in some patients.

A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that ultraviolet radiation from tanning and sunlight can cause eczema symptoms to flare up. The study analyzed the skin of patients with eczema before and after being exposed to UV radiation, and found that the skin became more inflamed and itchy after exposure. Additionally, the American Academy of Dermatology has warned that tanning beds can increase the risk of developing skin cancer and premature aging.

  • Tanning can improve the appearance of skin
  • Exposure to UV radiation can reduce inflammation temporarily
  • May help with vitamin D deficiency
  • Tanning can worsen eczema symptoms
  • Increases the risk of skin cancer and premature aging
  • May further damage already sensitive skin

In conclusion, while tanning beds may seem like a tempting solution to relieve eczema symptoms, experts generally advise against using them. Instead, it is recommended to manage eczema through proper skincare routines, avoiding triggers, and seeking medical advice for severe cases.

Symptoms of Eczema

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed skin that can be accompanied by oozing, crusting, and scaling. The symptoms vary depending on the type of eczema and their severity, but the most common ones include:

  • Redness
  • Skin dryness
  • Itching
  • Blisters or bumps
  • Crusting or flaking
  • Oozing or weeping of skin
  • Scaly patches
  • Thickened, cracked or scaly skin
  • Changes in skin color

Eczema can appear anywhere on the body, but it is commonly found on the face, neck, elbows, knees, and hands. The symptoms of eczema can be triggered or worsened by a variety of factors, including stress, allergens, irritating chemicals, hormonal changes, and weather conditions.

Types of Eczema

There are several types of eczema, each with its own set of symptoms and triggers. The most common types are:

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Nummular eczema
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Dyshidrotic eczema

When to See a Doctor

If you have persistent or severe eczema symptoms that are interfering with your daily life, it’s important to see a doctor or dermatologist. They can help you identify the triggers of your eczema and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Signs that require immediate medical attention:Signs that require follow-up medical attention:
Fever, chills, or illnessItching that lasts more than two weeks
Blisters filled with pusDiscoloration or thickening of the skin
Intense itching that disrupts sleep or daily routineCracking or bleeding of the skin
Allergic reaction symptoms, such as swelling, lip tightness, or wheezingSymptoms that don’t improve with self-care

Overall, it’s important to pay close attention to your eczema symptoms and take appropriate measures to manage them, especially during flare-ups. By working with a healthcare professional and making some lifestyle changes, it’s possible to reduce the severity and frequency of eczema symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Traditional Treatments for Eczema

Eczema can be a frustrating and at times debilitating condition. While there is no cure for eczema, there are a variety of traditional treatments available that can alleviate symptoms and provide relief.

  • Topical Corticosteroids: These are the most common treatment option for eczema. They work by reducing inflammation and itchiness. However, prolonged use can cause thinning of the skin so it’s important to use them as directed by your doctor.
  • Emollients: These are moisturizing creams and ointments that help keep the skin hydrated. They work by forming a protective barrier over the skin, reducing water loss and preventing the skin from drying out. Emollients work best when applied immediately after bathing or showering when the skin is still damp.
  • Antihistamines: These are typically used to alleviate symptoms such as itching, especially at nighttime. There are both over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines available.

In addition to these traditional treatments, there are a variety of lifestyle changes that can help alleviate eczema symptoms. Stress reduction techniques, such as meditation or yoga, can help reduce the frequency and intensity of flare-ups. Avoiding harsh soaps, detergents, and perfumes can also help prevent skin irritation. Finally, maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding triggers such as certain foods or environmental allergens can help manage eczema symptoms.

It’s important to speak to a dermatologist to create a treatment plan that works for you. With the right combination of treatments and lifestyle changes, eczema sufferers can find relief from the uncomfortable symptoms of this condition.

Phototherapy as a Treatment for Eczema

Phototherapy, also known as light therapy, is a form of treatment for eczema that involves exposing the skin to specific wavelengths of light. This treatment has shown promise in reducing eczema symptoms, including itching, redness, and inflammation.

There are several types of phototherapy, including:

  • UVB therapy
  • UVA therapy
  • Narrowband UVB therapy

UVB therapy is the most common type of phototherapy used to treat eczema. This treatment involves exposing the skin to a specific type of ultraviolet light called UVB. The UVB light penetrates the skin and helps to reduce inflammation, which can help to alleviate eczema symptoms.

UVA therapy, on the other hand, involves exposing the skin to UVA light, which has a longer wavelength than UVB light. This type of phototherapy is less commonly used for eczema, but it may be helpful for people who have not responded well to other treatments.

Narrowband UVB therapy is a newer type of phototherapy that uses a specific wavelength of UVB light. This treatment has been shown to be particularly effective for treating eczema and may be less likely to cause side effects than other types of phototherapy.

It is important to note that phototherapy should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Overexposure to UV light can increase the risk of skin cancer, so it is important to use phototherapy treatment in moderation and follow the recommended treatment plan.

Type of PhototherapyHow it WorksPotential Side Effects
UVB therapyExposure to UVB light reduces inflammation in the skin.Redness, itching, burning, blistering, increased risk of skin cancer with long-term use.
UVA therapyExposure to UVA light reduces inflammation in the skin.Increase risk of skin cancer with long-term use.
Narrowband UVB therapyExposure to a specific wavelength of UVB light reduces inflammation in the skin.Redness, itching, burning, increased risk of skin cancer with long-term use.

Overall, phototherapy can be an effective treatment option for eczema, particularly for people who have not responded well to other treatments. However, as with any medical treatment, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting phototherapy and to follow their recommendations carefully.

How does phototherapy work?

Phototherapy, also known as light therapy, uses specific wavelengths of light to treat various skin conditions, including eczema. The light emitted from the lamps or devices used in phototherapy penetrates the skin and targets the specific cells responsible for inflammation and itching.

  • Phototherapy increases the production of vitamin D in the skin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Ultraviolet B (UVB) phototherapy reduces inflammation and slows down the growth of skin cells.
  • Narrowband UVB phototherapy is more targeted than regular UVB and can be used for longer periods of time.

Depending on the severity of the eczema, phototherapy can be administered through different methods:

  • Whole-body irradiation: This method requires the patient to stand in a booth or room while lamps emit UVB light all over the body.
  • Hand-and-foot treatment: This method is used for patients whose eczema is limited to their hands and feet. The hands and feet are placed in a box-like device that emits UVB light.
  • Targeted treatment: This method uses a handheld device that emits UVB light directly onto affected areas of the skin.

It is important to note that phototherapy should only be administered under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional. Improper use of phototherapy devices can lead to skin damage and increased risk of skin cancer.

Effective in reducing eczema symptomsCan cause skin damage if not used correctly
Different methods of administration availableRequires multiple sessions over weeks or months
No need for medicationCan be expensive

In conclusion, phototherapy is a promising treatment option for eczema, particularly for patients who do not respond well to traditional medications. However, it should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and with caution to prevent skin damage.

Risks associated with tanning beds

While tanning beds may offer the convenience of getting a tan without having to go outside, there are numerous risks associated with their use. Here are eight of the top risks:

  • Skin cancer: Tanning beds have been linked to an increased risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
  • Premature aging: Tanning beds can cause premature aging, including wrinkles, age spots, and a leathery texture to the skin.
  • Eye damage: Exposure to the UV rays emitted by tanning beds can cause damage to the eyes, including cataracts and ocular melanoma.
  • Skin damage: Tanning beds can cause damage to the skin, including burns, blisters, and dryness.
  • Weakened immune system: Tanning beds can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections and illnesses.
  • Mood disorders: Exposure to UV rays can increase the risk of developing mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
  • Allergies: Some people may be allergic to the UV rays emitted by tanning beds, which can lead to itching, rashes, and hives.
  • Low vitamin D levels: While some people use tanning beds to increase their vitamin D levels, this is not a safe or reliable way to get the vitamin, and can actually lead to vitamin D deficiency in the long run.

Given these risks, it’s important to think twice before using a tanning bed. In fact, many health experts recommend avoiding them altogether in favor of more natural methods of getting a tan, such as spending time in the sun (while wearing sunscreen) or using self-tanning products.

Effectiveness of Tanning Beds for Eczema

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes red, itchy, and inflamed skin. Many individuals with this condition often search for different treatment options and remedies to alleviate the symptoms. One alternative treatment that has been observed in recent years is tanning beds. But are tanning beds good for eczema? Let’s examine the evidence.

  • UVB Radiation: Tanning beds emit ultraviolet B radiation, which can potentially reduce inflammation and itching associated with eczema. However, it’s crucial to note that excessive UVB exposure can also worsen eczema symptoms, and long-term use can increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • Vitamin D: Tanning beds can also supply vitamin D, which is essential for skin health. Many studies have linked low levels of vitamin D to the development and worsening of eczema. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that excess vitamin D can also have adverse effects, so it’s best to maintain recommended levels of vitamin D intake.
  • Sunburn: Tanning beds can cause sunburn, even with minimal exposure. Sunburn can exacerbate eczema symptoms and cause significant discomfort. Therefore, it’s essential to protect your skin by applying adequate amounts of sunscreen before using a tanning bed and avoiding overexposure.

Despite these potential benefits, it’s critical to understand that tanning beds are not a cure for eczema. They can only provide temporary relief and should never replace medical treatment prescribed by a dermatologist. Additionally, long-term use of tanning beds can have numerous side effects and increase the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging.

If you are considering using tanning beds for the treatment of eczema, consult with your dermatologist first. Your dermatologist can provide you with more information on the benefits and risks of tanning beds and help you devise a safe and effective treatment plan for your eczema symptoms.

Overall, while tanning beds may provide some relief for eczema symptoms, it’s crucial to weigh the potential benefits against the risks and always prioritize the safety and health of your skin.

Alternatives to Tanning Beds for Eczema Treatment

While tanning beds may provide some relief for individuals with eczema, there are alternative treatment options to consider. These alternatives focus on repairing and protecting the skin barrier and reducing inflammation. Here are ten alternatives to tanning beds for eczema treatment:

  • Moisturizers: Regular application of a thick, fragrance-free moisturizer can help repair and protect the skin barrier. Look for ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture.
  • Topical Steroids: Prescription-strength creams or ointments can help reduce inflammation and itching. Be sure to follow your dermatologist’s instructions for application and duration of use.
  • Wet Wraps: After applying moisturizer and prescription creams, wet wraps can be used to enhance absorption and retain moisture. Wet a pair of thin pajamas or leggings, wring them out, and wear them under a dry layer of clothing overnight.
  • Oatmeal Baths: Adding colloidal oatmeal to a lukewarm bath can soothe itching and inflammation. Avoid hot water, which can further irritate the skin.
  • Bleach Baths: Diluted bleach baths can help kill bacteria on the skin and reduce the risk of infection. Ask your dermatologist for guidance on the proper concentration and frequency for your situation.
  • Dietary Changes: Some research suggests that certain foods may trigger eczema flare-ups; common culprits include dairy, gluten, and eggs. Consider working with a registered dietitian to identify and eliminate any trigger foods from your diet.
  • Stress Management: Stress can exacerbate eczema symptoms, so finding ways to manage stress can be an important part of treatment. Yoga, mindfulness meditation, and deep breathing exercises are all effective stress management techniques.
  • Light Therapy: Phototherapy involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light, either ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB). Your dermatologist may recommend this treatment for its anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Wet Dressings: Similar to wet wraps, wet dressings involve applying a damp cloth or dressing to the affected area to enhance absorption and relieve itching.
  • Oral Medications: For severe eczema cases, oral medications such as cyclosporine or methotrexate may be necessary. These medications can have significant side effects, so they should only be used under close supervision by a dermatologist.


While tanning beds may provide temporary relief for individuals with eczema, they can ultimately do more harm than good. It’s important to work with a dermatologist to develop a treatment plan that focuses on repairing and protecting the skin barrier, reducing inflammation, and addressing any underlying triggers. With the right treatment, many individuals with eczema are able to achieve significant relief from their symptoms.

Final Thoughts

So, is a tanning bed good for eczema? The answer is not definitive. While some people may find relief from their symptoms through tanning, it’s important to weigh the potential risks and discuss it with a medical professional. As with any skin condition, there are many other treatment options available that may be more effective. Thanks for taking the time to read this article – I hope you found it helpful. Don’t forget to check back for more tips and information on living with eczema. Until next time!