Here’s something that will make most dermatologists bang their heads against the wall: nearly half of the top 125 colleges and universities in the U.S. have tanning beds on campus or in off-campus housing, according to an October 2014 study in JAMA Dermatology.And it couldn’t be easier or cheaper for students to get a tan: a whopping 96 percent of most off-campus housing facilities with indoor tanning provide it free to tenants and more than 14 percent of colleges allow students to use campus cash cards to pay for tanning, according to the study.At this point, who doesn’t know that tanning — whether you’re lying on the beach or in a tanning bad — is bad for you? So why are some college students still doing it?”People still feel pressure to be tan or sunbathe,” explained Karyn Grossman, M.D. of Grossman Dermatology in Santa Monica and New York City. “[They] think, ‘If I look tan, maybe I feel like I’m five pounds thinner.’ It makes them more confident.”Some people are also still under the false impression that tanning indoors is safer than laying out on the beach. The fact is tanning beds shower you with 12 to 15 times more ultraviolet radiation than the sun. That puts you 12 to 15 times closer to thick, leathery skin, wrinkles, and skin cancer.There’s also the vitamin D argument, which some indoor tanning parlors have jumped on, since ultraviolet rays help your body produce the essential vitamin. But what the tanning salons don’t tell you is that the beds primarily expose you to UVA rays, which penetrate into the deep layers of skin, causing damage that leads to premature aging, rather than UVB rays which cause sunburns. But it’s the UVB rays that help the skin make vitamin D, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. So you’re not even getting the benefits of a vitamin D boost from a tanning bed as you damage your skin.Regardless, ultraviolet light isn’t the only source of vitamin D. “The majority of the world can get vitamin D from food and supplements,” pointed out Grossman, “so why risk cancer when it’s available in that safe manner?”Even knowing the facts — that 1 in 3 people will get skin cancer and one person dies every hour from skin cancer — may not change some people’s minds about tanning. “It’s very hard to convince young people that tans are bad for them,” said Grossman. “They want instant gratification and are also young enough to still feel that ‘nothing is going to happen to me now and by the time I get older, they’ll have fixed that.'”So it’s no surprise that warnings about skin cancer often fall on deaf ears, until it’s too late. (Case in point: Lisa Pace’s must-read story about how she went to tanning salons five days a week as a young adult and has now had skin cancer 77 times.)But several studies show that young women and men are more likely to heed the message to stop tanning when they’re informed that UV rays give you wrinkles and age spots. Seeing fair-skinned celebrities (think Taylor Swift) in advertising also helps: research shows that when women are shown ads in fashion and beauty magazines featuring models with suntanned skin, models without tans, or ads without any models, the women who viewed ads portraying models with fair skin had less favorable attitudes toward tanning than those who looked at the ads with tan models.Bottom line: Stay away from tanning beds. Period. We get it if you don’t feel good without a tan. Use self-tanners instead, which are better than ever. For a flawless, natural-looking application, follow our definitive guide to self-tanning.