Are Tanning Beds Worth the Risk?
We’ve said goodbye to the summer sun and are settling into the cooler days of Fall. While you may look forward to breezy tailgates and pumpkin spiced lattes this season, you may also dread watching your tan slowly fade away. If you are mourning the loss of your “sun-kissed” complexion, don’t fall into the lure of indoor tanning. Tanning beds may give your skin an attractive glow, but the temporary boost in your self-confidence falls very short of the danger it poses to your skin health.
The Danger of Tanning Beds
Tanning beds are a primary risk factor for melanoma skin cancer. Unfortunately, there are a couple important misconceptions about tanning bed use. First, you don’t have to be a “tanning bed addict” to be at risk. Studies show that just one single indoor tanning session can increase your chances of developing melanoma by 20 percent. Each additional session during the same year raises the risk another two percent!
Another common myth is that tanning beds are safer than tanning outdoors in the “real sun.” Unfortunately, tanning beds also involve UV exposure, and there is no such thing as safe UV radiation when it comes to your skin. In fact, indoor tanning can be even more harmful than laying out in the sun because they involve a more concentrated form of UV radiation.
Tanning beds are so dangerous that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently chose to reclassify ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices from class I (low to moderate risk) to class II (moderate to high risk) devices. Tanning salons are required to display a warning label to prevent the use of tanning beds for patrons under the age of 18. However, just like cigarettes, not everyone heeds to the serious health warnings of tanning beds.
Why Your Teen is More at Risk
Does your teen want to use the tanning bed before going to prom or competing in a cheer competition? You may want to rethink this quick cosmetic investment. While teens and young adults can often be the first to deny any long-term consequences of using a tanning bed, the risk is real. Studies show that those who use tanning beds prior to age 35 can increase their risk of developing melanoma by nearly 75 percent. In fact, tanning is more likely to cause skin cancer than smoking is to cause lung cancer!
See Your Dermatologist for Safe Tanning Options
Skin cancer is fatal if not detected early. Not only do we conduct annual skin screenings at Spectrum Dermatology, but we also educate patients on safe ways to gain a more bronze or sun-kissed complexion that does not involve UV radiation. Call our Atlanta clinic today to schedule your visit.