It’s True – Tanning is Dangerous
In numerous cultures, a golden or bronze tan is a symbol of good health and considered attractive. However, some people try to keep a tanned look all year round by using a tanning bed. And in just a few minutes a day, one can achieve a nice looking skin tone even in the dead of winter. However, there have been recent studies that show tanning can be dangerous and even detrimental to your health. In addition, studies show that tanning indoors may be more hazardous than tanning outdoors.
A tanning bed exposes the skin to extremely high amounts of ultraviolet (UV) light, both UVB and UVA rays. Interestingly, what creates the tan color is the serious amount of skin damage caused by the light rays. As it happens, the rays damage the skin cells which produce more pigment than usual. As well, even a short time in a tanning bed, the skin is exposed to high levels of radiation.
Linked to Cancer
Rendering to a post on WebMD, a research article published in the International Journal of Cancer (March 2007), reviewed 19 published studies that researched the correlation between skin cancer and tan beds. The research showed that people who used tan beds prior to 35 years of age had a 75% higher risk of melanoma. Besides hereditary, the remaining risk factors include a history of blistering childhood sunburns, fair-skinned people and redheads with a high ratio of freckles.
Another report by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (May 2008) shows that there is a strong bond between UV exposure and a higher risk of developing skin cancer. Granting, the details vary with different cancers like basal cell, squamous cell, melanoma and non-melanoma. But in all honesty, exposure to UV rays can increase the risk of cancer. In fact, women who tan at least one time a month have a 55% greater risk of developing melanoma. Truth be told, melanoma is one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), UV radiation from tanning beds and sunlamps poses serious health risks. The FDA scientist and international expert Sharon Miller (M.S.E.E) states that a tan is the skin’s reaction to the exposure of UV rays and is a sign of skin damage. In defense, the skin produces more melanin which darkens the skin. Yet over time, the damage can result in premature aged skin and sometimes skin cancer.
Recognizing exposure to the rays as an ‘insult,’ the skin acts in self-defense by producing more melanin, a pigment that darkens the skin. Over time, this damage will lead to prematurely aged skin and, in some cases, skin cancer.
Research shows that there are two types of UV radiation that permeate the skin: UV-A and UV-B rays. UV-A rays penetrate the deeper layers of the skin and is usually linked to allergic reactions, like a rash. UV-B rays penetrate the top layers of skin and are generally accountable for sunburns. Both UV-A and UV-B rays can cause cancer. Tan beds and salons use lamps that radiate both UV-A and UV-B rays.
Johns Creek Family Medicine
If you suspect that you may have skin cancer caused by tanning or you have other concerns, contact Johns Creek Family Medicine. In addition, the staff and physicians at Johns Creek Family Medicine can help keep your skin looking healthy and young.
For your convenience, Johns Creek Family Medicine is located off McGinnis Ferry Road and Peachtree Parkway (highway 14). It is right across Emory Johns Creek Hospital on Hospital Parkway in Johns Creek, GA.