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WTF? You Can Actually Catch Herpes From Using Tanning Beds

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It's no secret tanning beds are dangerous, but they may be even worse for your health than you thought.

And this time, it has nothing to do with skin cancer.

According to the Mayo Clinic's associate professor of dermatology, Dawn Marie Davies, using a tanning bed may increase your risk of catching genital herpes.

The sexually transmitted infection is generally spread via direct skin-to-skin contact, but it can live outside the body for an extended period of time.

While treatable, genital herpes is incurable.

Davies says,

I've seen acquired bacterial infections, warts, and herpes infections from tanning beds. Ultraviolet light can theoretically kill germs, but it's not enough to kill germs on the tanning bed.

In fact, the UV light may even strengthen the bacteria or virus.

Davies adds,

When you use the ultraviolet light over and over again -- and the tanning bed lights are on for multiple hours a day -- if the bacteria or virus is exposed to some antiseptic but not enough to kill it, or some light but not enough to kill it, it can grow stronger and then it becomes resistant.

And if the bacteria in question is, say, the staphylococcus bacteria (aka a staph infection) -- which Davies says can also live outside the body in a tanning bed's hot environment -- that resistance could prove fatal.

So, if the whole skin cancer risk thing wasn't enough to keep you out of the tanning bed, hopefully, the risk of contracting an incurable sexual disease is.

Citations: How you could catch herpes from a tanning bed (Daily Mail )