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Do tanning beds cause hair loss?

While UVA and UVB rays from tanning beds have not been proven to cause hair loss with normal scalps, some studies have indicated that UV radiation can speed up hair loss for those who suffer from androgenetic alopecia.

A study published by the University Hospital Center of Sart Tilman in Belgium notes that men suffering from androgenetic alopecia lost more hair when they consistently exposed their scalp to ultraviolet (UV) rays, while men who did not have alopecia showed no change during their study. The scientists in the study believe the effect is from the increased micro-inflammation that UV radiation exposure causes — which alopecia sufferers may be more sensitive to.

UV radiation can damage and age the skin by initiating a molecular cascade that produces reactive forms of oxygen that damage DNA and cell membranes. The two types of UV rays found in tanning beds are long-wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short-wave ultraviolet B (UVB). UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin and may contribute to the development of skin cancer. UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer. UVA rays are also linked to skin damage and are thought to play a role in some skin cancers. Most tanning beds give off large amounts of UVA, which researchers believe can cause melanoma.


Although the evidence that tanning beds are directly related to hair loss is still unclear, if you are planning to use a tanning bed or a stand-up tanning booth, you should always be prepared.

One of the most important steps to take is to protect your hair from exposure to the UV rays emitted from the lamps of the tanning bed. UV rays can change the chemical structure of your hair and cause changes in the color. Wear a shower cap while you are in the tanning bed, and tuck all of the hair inside the shower cap if you want to keep it protected from the UV rays. This is one of the most effective ways to prevent your hair from undergoing any serious damage.

As a precaution, when going outside, make sure to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. If you have a full head of hair, spray suntan lotion at the roots or wear hats to protect your scalp against the sun. It is important to protect your skin and scalp, since prolonged exposure to UV rays can increase the risk of skin problems in the future.


If you are suffering from hair thinning and hair loss, we suggest you visit your physician to rule out other causes. To learn more about treatment solutions, you can schedule a private, free, no-obligation consultation with a Bosley counselor. To learn more about your hair restoration options, download Bosley’s FREE guidebook, The Complete Book on Hair Restoration, to see how great your hair can look. You can also explore hair loss treatment options we offer.

What to do next?

To learn more about your hair restoration options and the average hair transplant timeline, The Complete Book on Hair Restoration, to see how great your hair can look. If you’re ready to do something about that bald spot or thinning hair now, schedule a FREE in-person or video consultation with a trained Bosley hair restoration specialist. Together with a Bosley Physician, we can help you find out what’s causing your balding and what treatment solution is right for you.

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