That almost sounds silly, doesn't it? It's unfortunate, but so many people have misconceptions about tanning bed technology and safe tanning practices that the belief that tanning beds and sunburn go together is widespread.
The truth, however, is that regular use of a tanning bed can be a great defense against sunburn. After all, tanning is the body's natural defense against burning - the gradual development of a tan increases the body's levels of melanin, a chemical that absorbs dangerous UV rays before they do serious skin damage. Indoor tanning using a quality tanning bed allows a controlled exposure to tanning rays, building melanin gradually so that once you're exposed to outdoor sun, whether during a sporting event, at the beach, or on the ski slopes, sunburn is much less likely.
Keep in mind, however, that even using a tanning bed, you still need to plan ahead to build a tan that will help you prevent sunburn. Melanin production takes time - about a week, to be exact. So if you're planning on taking a tan with you to the beach, you need to make time to use your tanning bed daily to get ready.
You should plan for about 10 minutes a day in the tanning bed - the equivalent of 30 minutes or so in environmental sunlight. You need at least this much sun to activate the melanin producing cells in your skin. Once those cells are activated, they produce melanin over the course of several hours. You need to use your tanning bed daily for 5 to 7 days to stimulate your skin to create enough melanin to be protective.
So what's your choice for outdoor sun protection? Will you use multiple applications of greasy, messy sunscreen or a natural golden glow that also protects from damaging, painful sunburn? There is no contest - and your tanning bed can make that natural sun burn protection easy.