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Prevea Health

The truth about tanning beds

 
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You may have heard that tanning booths are safe as long as they don’t contain UVB rays. The truth is, no tanning is safe.

Indoor tanning is a highly dangerous activity that increases skin cancer risks dramatically. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, thirty-five percent of American adults have reported using a tanning bed in their lifetime. Tanning beds and sun lamps are carcinogens (cancer-causing substance), according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization’s International Agency of Research on Cancer.

Research indicates that even just ONE indoor tanning visit a year increases the likelihood of developing melanoma or the risk of a benign mole progressing to melanoma. The risk is even higher for younger tanners. Many young women have started tanning before the age of 16. Younger skin is more prone to severe sun damage. With tanning beds, the light is meant to be the same strength as the UV light from the sun, and in some cases it can be stronger. Melanoma is the second most common cancer in females ages 15 to 29.

In addition to the increased cancer risks, indoor tanning creates oxidative damage and increases the visible signs of aging. Dark spots and a leathery skin texture are signs that there has been significant sun damage to the skin. Another premature aging sign is wrinkling of the skin. Frequent visits to a tanning bed forces collagen production to lessen and the skin become less elastic.

It’s estimated that in 2018, there will be an estimated 178,560 diagnoses of melanoma in the United States. These cases could have been easily prevented by using alternative tanning methods. When outside, even in the winter, protect your skin with sunscreen, and instead of using a tanning bed, try a spray on tan.
 
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