Tanning and skin cancer

Written by Community Health Network on 5/15/2014 7:00:00 AM

Did you know that the number of skin cancer cases due to tanning is higher than the number of lung cancer cases due to smoking? In the U.S. alone, 419,254 cases of skin cancer can be attributed to indoor tanning. Out of this number, 6,199 are melanoma cases.

A tan, whether you get it on the beach, in a bed, or through incidental exposure, increases your risk for skin cancer. Tans are caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning lamps, and if you have one, you’ve sustained skin cell damage. 

No matter what you may hear at tanning salons, the cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), as well as skin cancer. Indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. And people who begin tanning younger than age 35 have a 59 percent higher risk of melanoma.
Not to mention, getting a “base” tan at a tanning salon does not give you added protection from getting sunburnt. The tanning booth process actually injures the skin because the UV damages goes deeper into the skin layers. Using tanning beds also increases the risk of wrinkles and eye damage, and changes skin texture.

The takeaway? 

There is really no such thing as a safe tan. Learn to embrace your natural skin tone! Or, if you really want a bronze glow, try safer alternatives like tinted lotions or bronzers. 

Tanning bed warning labels 
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration state that tanning beds and booths must now carry a warning label that they should not be used by people below the age of 18 because of a higher risk of skin cancer development after use.

Tags: prevention , sunburn , tanning , UV rays | Posted in: Skin Cancer

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