A possible link between tanning beds and skin cancer has forced users to rethink the use of indoor tanning. Let us know more on tanning beds and risk of skin cancer in this article.
Everybody loves the warm golden glow of tanned skin. While people near the shores are lucky to flaunt their tanned skin throughout the year, most of us greatly rely upon our beach vacations to get a lovely tan. However, with the introduction of tanning salons, we can now get a tan anywhere, anytime. More and more youngsters visit tanning salons on a regular basis. Artificial tanning is even more popular amongst young women. However, a recent research, that established a possible link between tanning beds and skin cancer, has put a question mark upon their safety.
Tanning Beds and Skin Cancer Facts
Sunlight typically comprises three types of radiations UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. UV-C is the radiation with the shortest wavelength. As a result, it gets blocked by ozone and oxygen in the atmosphere before it reaches the earth. UV-C has the potential to bring about the most hazardous effects on our skin as well as on plant life. UV-B radiation is responsible for the most common types of skin cancers but it does not play any role in tanning of the skin. UV-B concentration increases during the summer season, leading to burning of the skin. UV-A has the longest wavelength, hence occupies a major portion of the ultraviolet spectrum reaching earth. UV-A can penetrate deeper into the skin and cause melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.
Natural sunlight does not contain UV-A in its most concentrated form. Since, UV-A is mainly responsible for tanning of the skin, tanning beds use this form of radiation. Besides, the radiation used by tanning beds has UV-A in much larger doses than natural sunlight. Naturally, this puts you at an elevated risk of developing melanoma. People who are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer are those with a pale skin tone, blond or light hair color, gray, green or blue eyes etc.
Tanning beds are extremely hazardous for young people below 30 years of age. Incidentally, people in this age group are most likely to use them. They increase your risk of developing any form of cancer by a whopping 75%. The correlation between cancer and tanning beds was established by an increase in the number of young skin cancer patients who were regular users of artificial tanning. Most of these young cancer patients were women in their twenties. Indoor tanning is also practiced by teenagers under 18. World Health Organization has now classified tanning beds as carcinogenic and demanded a ban on their usage by teenagers under 18 years of age.
Although tanning beds are considered high risk by various cancer organizations, tanning bed manufacturers have claimed that the research is not based on responsible use of tanning beds. Occasional use of tanning beds does not put you at the same risk of cancer as regular use. Hence, banning them completely is not advisable. Responsible use needs to be encouraged amongst users. Besides, people who are more at risk due to their ethnicity should get regular skin screenings to detect cancer at an early stage. Also, those with a melanoma history in their family should get themselves checked on a regular basis too.
Even staying outdoors without proper sun protection is also not recommended for the same reasons. Do not go for indoor tanning until you are 18 and when you do, make sure you only use it once in a while. After all your health is more important that the temporary glow on your skin.