As winter draws closer and you’re spending more time indoors, you may be tempted to go to the tanning salon to try to keep your summer glow. Spending a few minutes here or there in the tanning bed is surely harmless as long as you’re not getting burned, right? Unfortunately, you may be surprised to learn how dangerous tanning truly is.
Many incorrectly assume that because it is from an artificial source that tanning beds are not as deadly as the sun. Those in favor of tanning devices may even argue that using these devices are not as dangerous as sun exposure because it is possible to control the intensity and time exposed, but no evidence supports these claims. Moreover, sunlamps may even be riskier because they can be used at the same high intensity all the time when the sun’s intensity varies depending on the cloud cover, time of day and season. Both the sun and tanning beds emit UV and UV-B radiation which increases your risk of skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States with melanoma, the deadliest form, being alarmingly wide spread. Research conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) finds tanning to be so dangerous that not only do they recommend that no one under the age of 18 be allowed to use indoor tanning beds, but that indoor tanning should be banned altogether.
Besides the dangers of skin cancer, there are some other not so pretty effects that one can experience due to time spent in the tanning beds including:
- Premature aging. Wrinkles can occur due to the lose elasticity caused by tanning.
- Immune system suppression. UV-B radiation may cause suppression of the body’s immune system functioning as well as the skin’s usual defenses, leading to a higher risk of disease and skin cancer development.
- Allergic reactions. An itchy rash may result after tanning exposure indicating an allergic reaction.
- Eye damage. Irreversible damage may occur to eyes as serious as ocular melanoma.
Some of these effects may not show up until years after the tanning took place, so do not think because you do not notice any negative effects right away that you are safe to continue tanning until problems begin. If you notice any adverse effects after sun or tanning bed exposure, please contact us as soon as possible for an appointment.