Beach season is coming to an end and many of us are trying to put the finishing touches on our summer tan. There’s no denying you look great with tanned skin, but before you hit the tanning salon, like more than 1 million Americans do every day, take a look at the American Academy of Dermatology’s list of indoor tanning risks.
• Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, are known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances), according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the International Agency of Research on Cancer panel.
• Indoor tanning equipment, which includes all artificial light sources, including beds, lamps, bulbs, booths, etc., emits UVA and UVB radiation. The amount of the radiation produced during indoor tanning is similar to the sun, and in some cases may be stronger.
• Studies have found a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning. Other studies have shown that exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning devices is associated with an increased risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
• Studies have demonstrated that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning damages the DNA in the skin cells. Excessive exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning can lead to premature skin aging, immune suppression, and eye damage, including cataracts and ocular melanoma. Indoor tanning beds/lamps should be avoided and should not be used to obtain vitamin D because UV radiation from indoor tanning is a risk factor for skin cancer. Vitamin D can be obtained by a eating a healthy diet and by taking oral supplements.
• In a recent survey of adolescent tanning bed users, about 58 percent had burns due to frequent exposure to indoor tanning beds/lamps.
• The FDA estimates that there are about 3,000 hospital emergency room cases each year due to indoor tanning bed and lamp exposure.
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