Several researches have been made on the correlation of tanning beds with the development of cancer. Researchers warn that approximately a million Americans who frequent tanning salons have the same risk of developing skin cancer as those who tan outdoors.
Tanning beds in salons expose tanners to the same radiation emitted by the sun, thus producing the same damage to the skin. This damage is what leads to the development of skin cancer.
In theory, tanning beds can be relatively safe, but the reality is that frequent exposure to the radiation from these tanning beds does have adverse effects on the skin however obscure they may be at first.
Some people believe that base tans will protect them from the risk of skin cancer; however, these people could never be more wrong. The tanning lamps actually multiply the amount of radiation and will further increase the risks of developing skin cancer.
Most manufacturers of tanning beds will say that the radiation emitted by their tanning beds is mostly UVA radiation in an effort to avoid the UVB rays that cause sunburn. However, the use of this type of radiation (UVA) does not mean that the tanning beds are safe. UVA rays are linked to the development of malignant melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer. This type of radiation is also known to cause damage to the individual’s immune system.
According to Susan Boiko, MD, a dermatologist with an established medical practice in Kaiser Permanente in San Diego and member of the ACS advisory group for skin cancer, “UVA radiation is very degenerating to the skin. Some people have really leathery looking skin at an early age from regular exposure.”
Studies done about the uses of tanning beds
A study done in Sweden proves that the use of tanning beds plays a major part in the incidence of malignant melanoma. This study focused on people who were below 30 years in age.
The data from the study supports the conclusion that the individuals who had tanning sessions that involved the use tanning beds more than 10 times in a single year had a higher risk of developing malignant melanoma than those who weren’t using tanning beds.
The study also showed that individuals who occasionally used tanning beds had an increase of 300% in their risk of developing melanoma.
The number of new reported cases of melanoma in the United States is steadily rising. And this number is expected to continue increasing in the next few years.
In another study, it was found that people who have been regularly using tanning beds under the age of 35 had a higher risk of developing melanoma – a risk that is eight times higher than those of individuals who have never tanned using tanning beds.
Even the occasional use of tanning beds for individuals belonging in that age group tripled the chances of the occurrence of melanoma.
The risk of developing melanoma also increased two fold for individuals who initially began using tanning lamps while still younger than 35 years old. This risk also increases consistently as the individual increases his use of the tanning lamps.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are persuading the general public to avoid the use of sun lamps and tanning beds.
The American Medical Association also warn against the dangers of tanning, in fact, they have been making these warnings public, together with the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), for many years now. These associations have also issued some recommendations for minimizing damage caused by ultraviolet radiation to the skin and eyes.