Is the Tanning Bed Good for Psoriasis? Exploring the Pros and Cons

Psoriasis is a lifelong skin condition that affects approximately 7.5 million Americans. It causes rough and scaly patches to develop on the skin, which can be unsightly and uncomfortable. While there are various treatments available to manage the symptoms of psoriasis, such as topical creams and light therapy, many sufferers are turning to tanning beds to soothe their skin. But, is the tanning bed good for psoriasis? In order to answer this question, we need to delve deeper into the science behind why tanning can have a positive effect on psoriasis.

Tanning beds emit ultraviolet radiation, which penetrates the skin and triggers the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for tanning. Melanin also plays a role in reducing inflammation in the skin, which could explain why tanning beds are thought to be effective in treating psoriasis. Additionally, ultraviolet radiation is known to slow down the growth of skin cells, which is important for those with psoriasis, as the condition is characterized by rapid cell turnover. However, it is important to weigh the potential benefits of using a tanning bed for psoriasis against the risks of skin cancer and premature aging.

While there is no definitive answer to whether the tanning bed is good for psoriasis, it is clear that there are both pros and cons to consider. It is essential to work closely with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for managing psoriasis symptoms. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether the potential benefits of using a tanning bed outweigh the risks. As with any treatment option, it is essential to do your research and consult with a healthcare professional before making a decision.

How does psoriasis affect the skin?

Psoriasis is a common skin condition characterized by patches of thick, red skin covered with silvery scales. It occurs when skin cells grow faster than they can be shed, resulting in a buildup of cells on the surface of the skin. This excess skin cell growth is due to a faulty immune response which causes inflammation and triggers the skin cells to divide more quickly than normal.

Psoriasis can affect any part of the body, but it most commonly appears on the scalp, knees, elbows, and lower back. The symptoms of psoriasis can vary from person to person and the severity can range from mild to severe.

  • Red, raised, inflamed patches of skin
  • Silvery scales on top of the red patches
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
  • Itching, burning, and soreness
  • Thickened, pitted or ridged nails

Aside from the physical symptoms, psoriasis can also have a significant impact on a person’s mental health and overall quality of life. It can cause feelings of embarrassment, low self-esteem, and depression.

What are the common treatments for psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. There are several treatments available that can help manage the symptoms and alleviate discomfort caused by the disease. Below are some of the most common treatments for psoriasis:

  • Topical treatments: These medications include creams, ointments, shampoos, and sprays that are applied directly to the affected skin. Topical treatments can help reduce inflammation, itching, and scaling. They usually contain corticosteroids, vitamin D, salicylic acid, or coal tar.
  • Light therapy: Also known as phototherapy, light therapy involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light. This treatment can help slow down the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation. It is usually done in a doctor’s office or at home using a light box.
  • Systemic medications: These medications are taken orally or by injection and work on the whole body to control psoriasis. They are usually prescribed for moderate to severe cases of psoriasis and include methotrexate, cyclosporine, and biologics.

It is important to note that while these treatments can help manage psoriasis, they may not cure it entirely. Patients should work closely with their healthcare provider to determine which treatment is best for their individual needs.

In addition to medical treatments, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding triggers that worsen symptoms, and managing stress can also help improve psoriasis symptoms.

Can tanning beds improve psoriasis symptoms?

Some individuals with psoriasis may turn to tanning beds as an alternative treatment to manage their symptoms. The use of ultraviolet light can help slow down the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation, which are key characteristics of psoriasis.

However, it is not recommended for individuals with psoriasis to use tanning beds as a treatment. The risks associated with tanning beds, such as skin damage, burns, and an increased risk of skin cancer, outweigh the potential benefits.

Furthermore, tanning beds are not regulated by the FDA for the treatment of psoriasis. It is important to seek guidance from a healthcare provider and explore other treatment options before considering tanning beds as a management strategy for psoriasis.

How does UV light affect psoriasis?

UV light plays an essential role in the treatment of psoriasis, as it can help reduce symptoms by slowing down the excessive growth of skin cells. There are three types of UV light, namely UVA, UVB, and UVC, but only UVA and UVB are used for psoriasis treatment. Both types of UV light work differently and can have varying effects on the skin.

  • UVB Light: UVB light is often used to treat psoriasis because it slows down the growth of skin cells and reduces inflammation. It also helps relieve the symptoms of itching, scaling, and redness. UVB light is usually administered in a light box or sun lamp, which emits a controlled dose of UVB onto the skin. The treatment is painless, and the length of the treatment depends on the severity of the condition.
  • UVA Light: UVA light is less effective than UVB light in treating psoriasis. However, it can be used in combination with a medication called psoralen to improve its effectiveness. This is called psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) therapy. The medication makes the skin more sensitive to UVA light, which helps reduce psoriasis symptoms. PUVA therapy is usually administered in a hospital or clinic, and it requires careful monitoring to minimize the risk of side effects.
  • UVB versus UVA: While UVB light is generally more effective than UVA light in treating psoriasis, it can also be more harmful in high doses. UVB light can increase the risk of skin cancer and premature aging, especially in people with fair skin. UVA light, on the other hand, does not increase the risk of skin cancer, but it can cause wrinkles and other signs of aging. Therefore, it is essential to follow the recommended dosage and frequency of UV light exposure prescribed by a doctor.

The benefits and risks of tanning beds for psoriasis

Tanning beds have become a popular alternative to traditional phototherapy for psoriasis treatment. Tanning beds use UV light to darken the skin, which can help camouflage psoriasis patches and reduce redness. However, the use of tanning beds for psoriasis treatment can have both benefits and risks.

The benefits of tanning beds for psoriasis treatment include:

  • Convenience. Tanning beds are readily available in most tanning salons, and patients can easily incorporate tanning into their daily routine.
  • Cost-effectiveness. Tanning beds can be less expensive than traditional phototherapy if a patient has frequent treatment sessions.
  • Improved appearance. Tanning can camouflage psoriasis patches and reduce redness, which can help improve a patient’s self-esteem and quality of life.

However, the risks of tanning beds for psoriasis treatment include:

  • Increased risk of skin cancer. Tanning beds expose the skin to harmful UV radiation, which can increase the risk of skin cancer, especially if a patient has frequent exposure.
  • Worsening of psoriasis symptoms. Tanning beds can also dry out the skin and increase the risk of sunburn, which can worsen psoriasis symptoms.
  • Regulation. Tanning beds are not regulated by the FDA, which means that the quality and safety of the equipment and the dosage of UV radiation can vary.


UV light is an essential tool in the treatment of psoriasis, and it can help reduce symptoms by slowing down the excessive growth of skin cells. Both UVB and UVA light can be used to treat psoriasis, but UVB light is generally more effective. Tanning beds can also be used for psoriasis treatment, but they come with an increased risk of skin cancer and worsened psoriasis symptoms. Therefore, it is crucial to consult a dermatologist before using any form of UV light therapy for psoriasis treatment and to follow the recommended dosage and frequency of UV light exposure.

UV Light TypeBenefitsRisks
UVBSlows down skin cell growth, reduces inflammation, relieves itching and rednessIncreases risk of skin cancer and wrinkles
UVALess effective than UVB but can be combined with medication (PUVA) to improve effectivenessCan cause wrinkles and other signs of aging
Tanning BedsConvenient, cost-effective, improves appearanceIncreases risk of skin cancer and worsens psoriasis symptoms

What are the pros and cons of using tanning beds for psoriasis?

As with any treatment, there are both benefits and drawbacks to using tanning beds for psoriasis. While some people find relief from their psoriasis symptoms, others may experience negative side effects. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons.

  • Pros:
  • Tanning beds can help to reduce inflammation in the skin, which is a key component of psoriasis symptoms.
  • The UV rays emitted by tanning beds can slow the growth of skin cells, which is another factor in psoriasis flare-ups.
  • Tanning beds can be a convenient treatment option for people who don’t have access to other types of phototherapy, like light boxes or sunlight.
  • Cons:
  • Excessive use of tanning beds can increase your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma.
  • Tanning beds can also cause other skin damage, like premature aging and sunburns.
  • While some people find relief from their psoriasis symptoms with tanning beds, others may not experience any improvement at all.

It’s important to note that tanning beds should not be the primary treatment for psoriasis, and should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. While they may be helpful for some people, the risks associated with tanning bed use are significant and should not be ignored.

Overall, the decision to use a tanning bed for psoriasis treatment should be made carefully, taking into account both the potential benefits and risks. It’s always a good idea to explore other treatment options first, like topical creams, light therapy, and oral medications, before turning to tanning beds.

Reduces inflammation in the skinIncreases risk of skin cancer
Slows the growth of skin cellsCan cause premature aging
Convenient treatment optionMay not work for everyone

Ultimately, the decision to use a tanning bed for psoriasis should be based on a careful assessment of the individual’s medical history, as well as a discussion with a healthcare professional. With careful consideration and proper guidance, tanning beds may be a viable treatment option for some people with psoriasis.

Can tanning beds lower the risk of skin cancer for individuals with psoriasis?

One of the common concerns associated with tanning bed use is the increased risk of skin cancer. However, some studies suggest that moderate tanning bed use may actually lower the risk of skin cancer for individuals with psoriasis. Here are some reasons why:

  • UVB radiation: Tanning beds emit UVB radiation, which has been shown to be beneficial for psoriasis. In fact, UVB light therapy is a commonly prescribed treatment for psoriasis. Regular tanning bed use may help manage psoriasis symptoms, which in turn can lower the risk of skin cancer.
  • Vitamin D: Tanning beds can also help boost vitamin D levels in individuals with psoriasis, which has been linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
  • Low-intensity exposure: The key to reducing the risk of skin cancer with tanning bed use is to limit exposure time and frequency. Low-intensity exposure may actually help the skin build up a defense against harmful UV radiation.

Of course, it’s important to note that tanning bed use is not without risks, and individuals with psoriasis should speak with their healthcare provider before starting any new treatment regimen.

Does the type of tanning bed used affect its effectiveness for psoriasis?

There are various types of tanning beds available in the market, which can make it difficult to determine the best one for someone with psoriasis. It’s important to note that not all tanning beds are created equal, and they differ in terms of the type of lamps they use. Below are the different types of tanning beds:

  • Low-pressure beds – These use bulbs that emit more UVA radiation and produce a darker tan.
  • High-pressure beds – These use bulbs that emit more UVB radiation and produce a quicker tan.
  • Combination beds – These use a mixture of low and high-pressure bulbs to provide a quicker and darker tan.

When it comes to psoriasis, the type of tanning bed used does affect its effectiveness. According to a study published in the Archives of Dermatology, psoriasis patients showed a significant improvement after being exposed to UVB radiation. Specifically, they used a high-pressure tanning bed that emitted narrowband UVB radiation and had a uniform output.

However, it’s important to note that tanning beds are not a recommended treatment option for psoriasis by dermatologists. While some individuals may see improvement in their psoriasis symptoms, there are significant risks associated with tanning bed use such as skin cancer and premature ageing of skin.

Type of Tanning BedUV Radiation EmittedTanning Effect
Low-Pressure BedMore UVA radiationProduces a darker tan
High-Pressure BedMore UVB radiationProduces a quicker tan
Combination BedMix of low and high-pressure bulbsProduces a quicker and darker tan

Overall, psoriasis patients seeking tanning bed therapy should consult with their dermatologist and use the high-pressure beds with caution if recommended. It is important to weigh the benefits against the risks and always prioritize skin health over a temporary symptom relief.

What are the risks of tanning beds for individuals with psoriasis?

While some people with psoriasis may think that tanning beds can help improve their condition, there are several risks that come with using them. In this section, we will look at some of the risks of tanning beds for individuals with psoriasis.

  • Skin damage: Tanning beds use UV rays that can damage the skin. Individuals with psoriasis already have sensitive skin and exposing it to UV rays can make it worse. It can lead to sunburn, dryness, itchiness, and even increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • Worsening of psoriasis symptoms: Although tanning beds can help to temporarily reduce the appearance of plaques, it can also trigger psoriasis symptoms. It can cause the plaques to become larger and redder. Individuals with psoriasis can also experience new plaques in areas of the skin that haven’t been affected before.
  • Eye damage: Tanning beds emit strong UV rays that can damage the eyes. It can result in corneal burns, cataracts, and even blindness. Individuals with psoriasis might have a higher risk as having psoriasis on the eyelids can make the skin more sensitive and vulnerable to UV rays.

It’s important to note that tanning beds are not a safe treatment option for psoriasis. There are other safer and more effective treatment options such as phototherapy under the guidance of a medical professional.

Here’s a table comparing the risks of tanning beds and phototherapy:

Tanning BedsPhototherapy
EffectivenessTemporary improvement in symptomsLong-term improvement in symptoms with controlled exposure to UV rays
RisksSkin damage, worsening of symptoms, eye damageTemporary redness or itching, skin dryness
CostExpensive in the long-runRelatively cheaper

It’s clear that phototherapy is a safer and more effective option for individuals with psoriasis. Consult with your medical professional before attempting any treatment option.

Are there alternative UV light treatments for psoriasis?

For individuals with psoriasis who are unable or do not wish to use tanning beds, there are alternative UV light treatments available. These treatments involve the use of either UVB or UVA light and are administered in a medical setting under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Here are some of the alternative UV light treatments for psoriasis:

  • Narrowband UVB therapy: This targeted treatment involves the use of a specific wavelength of UVB light that is effective in treating psoriasis. The therapy is delivered in a medical office using a handheld device or a full body unit. It requires several sessions per week for a certain period.
  • Pulsed dye laser therapy: This treatment uses a concentrated beam of light to target the psoriasis plaques. The laser energy destroys the blood vessels that supply the plaque, leading to their clearance.
  • Excimer laser therapy: This targeted therapy uses a laser to deliver a high dose of UVB light to the affected area of the skin. The treatment allows for the healthy skin around the plaque to be spared while treating only the affected area.

While these treatments are effective in managing psoriasis symptoms, they may not be as convenient or accessible as tanning beds. Some of these treatments require multiple sessions per week for a certain period, which may not fit everyone’s schedule. Additionally, some treatments require a referral and may incur significant cost if insurance coverage is unavailable.

Alternative UV light treatments for psoriasis can also come with potential side effects. Patients who undergo UVB light therapy may experience redness, itching, or burning of the skin. Similarly, laser therapy may also cause blistering, scarring, and changes in skin pigmentation.

Treatment typeProsCons
Narrowband UVB therapyEffective treatment optionRequires multiple sessions per week; May cause short-term side effects
Pulsed dye laser therapyCan clear plaques quicklyMay cause bruising, blistering, and changes in skin pigmentation
Excimer laser therapyTargets only the affected skin and spares healthy skinMay cause blistering, scarring, and changes in skin pigmentation

It is important to speak with a dermatologist or healthcare professional before starting any treatment to ensure that it is the right choice for you and your specific case of psoriasis. While tanning beds may offer an accessible and convenient treatment option for psoriasis, alternative UV light treatments may provide a more targeted and effective approach for individuals seeking relief from the condition.

How does diet affect psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin. While the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, research suggests that genetics and environmental factors play a role. One of those environmental factors could be diet. Diet could potentially trigger or worsen psoriasis symptoms, as well as help manage them. Here are some ways diet affects psoriasis:

  • Foods to avoid: Certain foods are known to trigger psoriasis symptoms in some individuals. These include red meat, dairy, refined sugars and carbohydrates, alcohol, and processed foods. It’s also important to pay attention to food sensitivities or allergies, as these can also exacerbate symptoms.
  • Foods to consider: On the other hand, there are certain foods that may help manage psoriasis symptoms. This includes foods high in antioxidants, like leafy greens and berries, as well as foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and seeds. These foods can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is a major factor in psoriasis development.
  • Weight management: Obesity is a risk factor for psoriasis development and can also worsen symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise could potentially improve psoriasis symptoms and even decrease the need for medication.

Overall, diet plays a significant role in psoriasis management. While it’s important to avoid trigger foods, it’s equally important to consume foods that are beneficial for reducing inflammation and managing weight. Consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to create a personalized diet plan that works best for managing psoriasis symptoms.

What are the emotional effects of living with psoriasis and how can they be managed?

Living with psoriasis can have a significant impact on a person’s emotional well-being. The unpredictable nature of the condition and the visible symptoms can lead to feelings of embarrassment, anxiety, and depression. However, there are ways to manage these emotional effects.

  • Join a support group: Connecting with others who are going through similar experiences can help you feel less isolated and provide practical tips on how to manage the condition.
  • Practice self-care: Psoriasis can be exacerbated by stress, so it’s important to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as meditation, yoga, or hobbies.
  • Consider therapy: If you’re struggling to manage the emotional effects of psoriasis, therapy can provide a safe and supportive space to process your feelings and learn coping strategies.

In addition to these self-care strategies, there are also medical treatments that can help manage psoriasis symptoms. Working with a dermatologist can provide a care plan that addresses both the physical and emotional effects of the condition.

It’s important to remember that psoriasis does not define you as a person. With the right support and treatment, it is possible to manage the condition and live a fulfilling life.

Wrap-up and see you soon!

In conclusion, while tanning beds may offer some temporary relief to psoriasis symptoms, the risks and potential long-term damage to the skin are not worth it. It is important for people living with psoriasis to stay informed and work with their healthcare provider to find safe and effective treatments. Remember, taking care of your skin is crucial for managing this condition. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out our other articles for more useful information on psoriasis!