Do you still go to the indoor tanning booths? You should know that artificial ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) emitted by tanning beds and sunlamps causes cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The sun’s rays are carcinogenic, but the UVA rays emitted by Ultraviolet A light sources in tanning booths are two to three times more powerful. Indoor tanning includes artificial light sources that emit UVA and UVB radiation, wavelengths in ultraviolet radiation.
Symptoms of sun damage
Solar radiation from tanning booths and the sun damages your skin. The evident and familiar signs are:
- your skin starts to turn pink
- your skin turns red
- you have blisters
Risks of indoor tanning
The risks of indoor tanning are numerous, significant, and supported by clinical research in peer-reviewed journals.
If you think that using a tanning booth before prom or your wedding will not cause any harm, you are wrong. Going to a single tanning salon session before age 35 increases your risk of melanoma, even if you don’t burn in the sun, and that risk continues to grow with each session.
It also increases the risk of:
- your benign moles turn into melanoma
- developing squamous cell carcinoma , skin cancer in the upper layers of your skin, in more than 65 percent
- developing basal cell carcinoma , skin cancer in the deepest layers of your skin, by nearly 30 percent
Tanning booths cause cancer
When you go to the salon for a tanning session, you may leave with a golden glow, but you are undergoing something that unequivocally causes cancer. Clinical studies show that artificial light tanning causes melanoma, the most dangerous type of cancer. Melanoma looks like a mole and is usually black or brown, but sometimes it is red, blue, or other colors.
Skin cancer can happen to anyone. Women have a higher risk of developing cancer from exposure to the UV rays used in indoor tanning booths than men, simply because about 70 percent of tanning salon customers are young women. If you have previously been treated for skin cancer or have a family history, your risk is also increased.
You are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer if you have specific physical characteristics, including:
- White skin
- Blonde, red or light brown hair.
- Blue, green, or gray eyes
Your risk is also higher if your skin tends to:
- always burn before tanning
- burns easily
- You don’t tan easily and you spend a lot of time outdoors.
Your lifestyle can also increase your risk of skin cancer, including:
- live or take regular vacations at high altitudes, because UV exposure increases with altitude
- Working indoors all week and then trying to “catch up” on the weekend by spending a lot of time outside
Medications, supplements, and some cosmetics also increase your sensitivity to the sun.
Warning signs of skin cancer
As with many types of cancer, early detection and treatment are your best chances for remission and survival. Here are some signs that may indicate that you have skin cancer:
- An abnormality of the skin that increases in size and appears multicolored, pink, red, black, brown, brown, pearly, translucent, or brown
- A mole that changes color, textures, grows, takes on an irregular shape, or is larger than a pencil eraser.
- A spot or growth that continually itches, hurts, becomes crusty, scabs, or bleeds.
- An open sore that does not heal after 4 weeks or one that heals and reopens.
The self-exams normal skin could save about 4,500 lives a year. Whenever you are concerned about a growth or blemish on your skin, it is best to seek the advice of a healthcare professional.