UVA vs. UVB Tanning Booths: What's the Difference?

UVA vs. UVB Tanning Booths: What's the Difference?

Gotclearskin.com Staff

Understanding UVA and UVB Rays

Before diving into the impact on psoriasis, let's clarify the difference between UVA and UVB rays, the two types of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun and tanning booths:

  • UVA Rays: These rays are longer and penetrate deeper into the skin. They are primarily responsible for skin aging and wrinkles, as well as tanning.
  • UVB Rays: These rays are shorter and stronger, causing sunburns and contributing to skin cancer. UVB rays are also responsible for the body's production of vitamin D.

Tanning Booths: UVA vs. UVB

Tanning booths primarily use either UVA or UVB rays, or a combination of both:

  • UVA Tanning Booths: These booths produce longer UVA rays, resulting in a gradual tan. They are often used for maintaining a tan or achieving a deeper, longer-lasting tan.
  • UVB Tanning Booths: These booths emit stronger UVB rays, leading to a quicker tan. However, they are more likely to cause sunburn and skin damage.

Psoriasis and Tanning Booths

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches. While tanning can temporarily improve the appearance of psoriasis plaques, it's not a long-term solution and can even worsen the condition in some cases.

UVA Tanning Booths and Psoriasis

UVA rays have been shown to have some benefits for psoriasis. They can help reduce inflammation and scaling, leading to smoother skin. However, UVA tanning can also worsen psoriasis in some individuals, particularly those with severe or widespread psoriasis.

UVB Tanning Booths and Psoriasis

UVB rays, when used in controlled doses, are actually a common treatment for psoriasis. Phototherapy, which uses UVB light, is often prescribed by dermatologists to slow down the growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation. However, it's important to note that excessive UVB exposure can worsen psoriasis and increase the risk of skin cancer.

Risks Associated with Tanning Booths

Regardless of the type of tanning booth, using them poses several risks, including:

  • Increased risk of skin cancer: Both UVA and UVB rays can damage DNA and increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • Premature skin aging: UVA rays contribute to wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of skin aging.
  • Eye damage: Both UVA and UVB rays can damage the eyes, leading to cataracts and other eye problems.
  • Sunburns: UVB rays can cause sunburns, especially when exposed to high doses.


While tanning booths can temporarily improve the appearance of psoriasis, the risks associated with their use outweigh the potential benefits. It's crucial to consult with a dermatologist before considering any tanning treatment, especially if you have psoriasis. They can help you understand the risks and benefits of different treatment options and recommend the safest and most effective course of action.

Always remember that sun protection is crucial, whether you're using tanning booths or simply enjoying the outdoors. Protect your skin with sunscreen, protective clothing, and sunglasses.