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Herpes From a Tanning Bed? It IS Possible

April 22, 2015 1 min read

We've all heard the dangers of tanning but I bet you didn't know that you can add herpes to your list of tanning bed risks. The herpes STI is most commonly spread through skin to skin contact but according to dermatologist Dawn Marie Davies, an associate professor of dermatology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the virus (as well many bacteria) are able to survive in tanning beds, despite the heat. Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 1.39.03 PM According to Davies, staphylococcus bacteria (which can cause skin infections), fecal bacteria, the herpes virus and human papillomavirus can all survive the heat of the beds. In fact, the heat helps the bacteria grow, making it stronger. When someone sweats, it creates a perfect breeding ground. The virus is then able to enter through cuts on the skin, cuts so small you might not even know you have them. Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 1.40.13 PM Davies paints a rather scary scenario. Ultraviolet can kill bacteria but the light in the tanning beds isn't enough to kill all of it. When the beds get cleaned, antiseptic may not be killing all the bacteria. So, in essence, you've got bacteria surviving UV light AND antiseptic, making it stronger. So, maybe it is time to think about ditching the beds all together. Risking the sun sounds a little less scary. Tell us what you think. Is your quest for a year round bronze stronger than your fear of super bacteria and herpes?  

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