Risks of prolonged exposure to sunlight or tanning beds have been debated very much, with multiple arguments and more or less irrefutable. People were accustomed to using various creams and avoid exposure at hours considered to be high risk, but tanning beds are open in every season of the year and gain very exposure. Researchers have concluded that young women’s cancer risk is linked to tanning beds.
Myths about tanning beds
The most common justification for those attending to tanning beds saloons are:
I want to be prepared for the real sun exposure.
Fact: tan protection provided by the tanning bed is equivalent to SPF 2-4. So, the risk of sunburns remains about the same
I am saving time because few minutes in the tanning bed will get me the same tan as few days on the beach would give me.
Fact: the amount of radiation emitted by the source of artificial sunlight can be up to 15 times greater than that emitted by the real sun during the summer, therefore it will lead the degradation of the DNA
Tanning beds are treatments of disease.
Fact: Yes, there are conditions like psoriasis, or eczema, in which cases exposure to UV is a method of therapy, but it is a controlled exposure to certain wavelengths, and the of radiations are strictly controlled under medical surveillance.
I like using tanning beds because it gives me a good feeling.
Fact: has been believed that tanning beds trigger an increase in the level of endorphins after exposure to UV, but the theory has not been yet confirmed by any medical study.
Sunlight vs Tanning Beds
Artificial sources like tanning beds emit 95% UVA radiation and 5% UVB.
A Swedish study has brought solid information on the risk of developing melanoma in people who frequent tanning beds, leading to a growth in the incidence of melanoma among young women.
More recently, another retrospective study gave further information on the risk of developing skin cancer in young women who frequented tanning beds before the age of 35 years. The association of tanning beds usage with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers are undoubted.
Other studies have brought evidence that UVA radiations cause damages at the DNA level, producing premature aging, decreased immunity, skin infection, and impaired eye.
A statistics clearly shows that 90% of the total of skin cancers are caused by unprotected exposure to UV and, despite medical recommendations, tanning beds salons are still used by millions of young women.
Statistics shows that for the young women who regularly used the tanning beds before the age of 35 years, their risk of developing melanoma raised by 75%, which is an extremely high risk.
If the number of tanning sessions using tanning beds is higher, the greater the risk of melanoma which is the leading cause of death in women between 25 and 30 years and the second leading cause of death in women aged between 30 and 35 years, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
The Legislation, Warnings, Politics
The World Health Organization has developed a brochure in 2003, proposing regulations on the operation of tanning beds salons and certain protective measures.
Risks of exposure to artificial light sources that emit ultraviolet radiation like tanning beds are:
- skin cancers, in particular, melanoma
- premature aging (skin is dry, wrinkled, without elasticity)
- decreased immunity
- eyes impairment (cataracts, ocular melanoma)
Dermatologists give some additional tips:
- exposure to sunlight or tanning beds session requires a minimum of 48 hours rest
- attention to the concomitant administration of medications or treatment creams that require avoiding any form of UV exposure.
Generally, young women attending tanning beds are mostly aware of some of the risks they put themselves into but are unaware of the risks of developing cancer thinking that tanning beds are safe.
Any consequence from tanning beds UV exposure installs in time, and at around 20 years old, it is hard for them to picture themselves with wrinkles, dry skin, eczema, or cancers.
The last question is why an artificially tanned skin is a model of beauty?
But of course, there could be a much healthier solution for those women who love to be tanned all the year: Spray Tan salons that use spraying solution or self-tanning creams. These are healthy alternatives to tanning beds.