Think Tanning Booths Have Gotten Safer? Here’s the Scary Truth
| 3 min read
- Whether exposure to UV radiation is directly from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds, the FDA states that exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer, especially melanoma.
- Contrary to popular belief that a tan is a sign of a healthy glow, a tan is actually the skin acting in self-defense to UV rays by producing more melanin–the pigment that causes skin to darken. Over time, this damage could lead to prematurely aged skin and even cancer.
- Even infrequent tanners are at risk for skin cancer. New research from the Skin Cancer Foundation has found that just four visits a year to a tanning booth can increase the risk for melanoma by 11 percent. Four visits could also be enough to increase the risk of two other common forms of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, by 15 percent.
- Research also has shown that tanning can be addictive. Tanning beds emit UV light that stimulates the part of the brain that releases feel-good chemicals, which could encourage repeat visits to the tanning salon.
- Although tanning salon proponents argue that tanning beds emit ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation rather than sunburn-causing ultraviolet B rays, research actually shows that frequent tanners may receive 12 times the amount of UVA radiation than they would through normal sun exposure. And just like UVB radiation, UVA radiation is a carcinogen.