Dangers of Tanning
Many people don’t realize the dangers of using tanning booths. The truth is tanning booths are far more risky than sun exposure. They emit up to 15 times more UV radiation than the sun.
2.5 million teens use tanning booths each year including 35% of girls age 17 – many start as early as age 13.
Two new studies reveal that young adults are engaging in behaviors that can increase their skin cancer risk. Indoor tanning device use was found to be common among U.S. adults, and widespread among non-Hispanic white women aged 18-25, according to one study. A second study reports that although certain sun protective behaviors such as sunscreen use, staying in the shade, and wearing long-sleeved clothing increased during 2000-2010 among U.S. adults aged 18-29 years, there has not been a corresponding decrease in sunburns among people in this age group.
The manuscripts, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, used data from the National Health Interview Survey’s Cancer Control Supplement to assess the proportion of adults who had used an indoor tanning device in the previous year and evaluate trends in sun protective behaviors and sunburn among adults aged 18-29.
Plain and simple – Avoid tanning booths.
Tanning booths emit mostly UVA. UVA rays penetrate to the dermal-epidermal junction of the skin, where they can damage your cells’ DNA at precisely the place where most melanomas begin. This causes abnormal cells to begin to grow that can cause melanoma. Tanning booths also emit some UVB, which increases your chances of getting melanomas as well as other types of skin cancer (basal cells and squamous cells).
Some Facts of Tanning:
- The World Health Organization has determined that UV rays from tanning beds cause cancer.
- The increased risk of melanoma associated with tanning bed use is 59% for people whose first exposure to artificial UV rays in a tanning bed occurred before age 35 years. That risk increases with the number of tanning bed sessions per year.
- Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, kills one person every 50 minutes. It is the second most common cancer for young adults aged 15-29 years old. Rates for melanoma are increasing faster than nearly all other cancers.
- It doesn’t take a sunburn – tan skin is damaged skin
- For most people, 5-10 minutes of unprotected sun 2-3 times a week is enough to help your skin make Vitamin D, which is essential for your health. Getting more sun won’t increase your Vitamin D level, but it will increase your risk of skin cancer. Vitamin D also comes from orange juice, milk, fish, and supplements.
If you want to look tan, try a self-tanning product, but be sure to also use sunscreen with SPF 30 as most self tanners do not provide any sun protection.