With winter here and our summer tans no where in sight, we may turn to tanning beds for a little glow. However you should think twice before you use them, “The truth is tanning booths are far more risky than sun exposure. They emit up to 15 times more UV radiation than the sun.”
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.
*According to the Melanoma Foundation, http://mfne.org/prevent-melanoma/dangers-of-tanning/