Indoor tanning dangers have been widely publicized and have led to increased regulations on tanning salons. Although many people associate a golden tan with health and vitality, sunlamps and indoor tanning beds have been linked to a higher risk of squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.
Indoor Tanning Popularity
Despite increased awareness on the dangers of indoor tanning, the practice remains popular, particularly among female teens.
A University of California, San Francisco study published in 2014 in JAMA Dermatology online, reported around 20 percent of high school girls admitted to indoor tanning at least one time during 2013. Ten percent of those same girls said they tanned frequently, up to 10 or more times, over the 12 month period.
The study also revealed indoor tanning was even more common among college students. Fifty-five percent of students reported practicing indoor tanning at least once and 43 percent said they had used an indoor tanning bed in the past year.
Indoor Tanning Dangers
The most serious concern dermatologists and health experts have about tanning salons and indoor tanning is the possibility it could lead to an increase in skin cancer rates.
Numerous studies have linked indoor tanning to a higher risk of skin cancer. The UV radiation levels emitted by some British tanning beds were discovered to be so intense, users were two times more likely to develop skin cancer than if they had been exposed to the noontime Mediterranean summer sun for an equal length of time.
Tanning salon beds and sunlamps emit both UVA and UVB rays, which can lead to melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Intense exposure to UV radiation can also cause premature skin aging, wrinkles, irreversible eye damage, immune system suppression and possible allergic reaction in UV sensitive individuals.
In the state of Texas, minors under age 18 are banned from the use of indoor tanning beds. If you have used tanning beds or other indoor tanning sources in the past, talk with your dermatologist about signs and symptoms of skin cancer and the importance of performing regular self-skin checks.