This is the time of the year when people like to work on getting that golden tan and, for many that means going to the local tanning parlor. But, did you know that the use of a tanning bed is far more dangerous than sunbathing? That’s right! In fact, the incidence of melanoma has climbed steeply and has doubled between 1982 and 2011 here in the U.S.! What’s worse, is that increased incidences of melanoma are projected to continue. A big reason for these rising rates of melanoma is the use of indoor tanning devices like tanning beds, especially by young women. This is because young women tend to be the most frequent users of these devices, usually from the late teens and into the twenties. What’s really scary is that the use of indoor tanning by young people has been shown to increase their chances of getting melanoma before the age of 30 by 75 percent! Tragically, melanoma is the type of skin cancer responsible for the most deaths. Did you know that in 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization classified UV tanning devices as cancer causing to humans?
No matter your age, indoor tanning is something to avoid like the plague! In fact, studies have shown that the use of indoor tanning at least ONCE was associated with a 16 percent increase in melanoma risk! And if you are a power user with more than 10 sessions under your belt, there’s a 22 percent increase in risk. It gets worse because indoor tanning also increases the risk of getting other skin cancers like squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. The health of your eyes is also at risk because tanning devices also increase the risk of eye melanomas. Suddenly, that golden tan is not looking so attractive anymore!
Did you know that ultraviolet radiation can promote cancer even if you don’t get a sunburn? Oh yeah, and even if you have never had sunburn, if you use indoor tanning you are much more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma. Yes, I know tanning gives you that healthy glow, but keep in mind that getting a tan is actually not healthy for your skin. Did you know that when you get a tan, this means that skin damage has already occurred because this is your body’s attempt to prevent sunburn with further sun exposure? Tanning is essentially your body’s response to DNA damage to your skin cells from UV exposure. This DNA damage is also a trigger for skin cancer development!
As dangerous as sunbathing can be, the UV radiation from indoor tanning is even more intense. Tanning devices can emit UV doses as much as 10-15 times higher than the UV radiation emitted by the midday sun! Yikes!
I say choose the sun! But be safe by using non-toxic sun protection (CLICK HERE to read about safe sun protection) when you’re outdoors. Also make sure to be eating carotenoid-rich foods, like leafy greens, orange vegetables and tomatoes. These will help your skin to combat the DNA damage from UV light. To learn more about how to have beautiful skin, CLICK HERE. To your good health!