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The Dangers of Tanning Beds - 10 Reasons to Avoid Tanning Beds

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Indoor tanning has skyrocketed in popularity among adults and young adults in recent years, increasing the cases of melanoma cancer by 800 percent in females and 400 percent in males ages 18 to 39 since 1970. And although melanoma only accounts for about two percent of skin cancer cases, it is responsible for the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.

While these alarming statistics should be enough to shock you out of a tanning bed for good, here are 10 more reason to avoid tanning beds.

10 Reasons to Avoid Tanning Beds

  1. The United States Department of Health and Human Services has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from artificial sources carcinogens (cancer-causing substances), putting it in a category of known-carcinogens alongside formaldehyde and arsenic.
  2. More than 419,000 new skin cancer cases are attributable to indoor tanning each year. Of this, 6,199 are melanoma cases.
  3. UVA rays penetrate the skin, breaking down the collagen and elastin in the upper layers of the skin. This can lead to permanent damage, including premature skin aging, eye damage, such as cataracts and ocular melanoma, and immune suppression.
  4. UVA exposure from indoor tanning is roughly 12 times more than outdoor tanning. 
  5. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation, even without a burn, can lead to long-term, irreparable DNA damage
  6. Indoor tanning has been shown to increase the release of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that generate feelings of happiness, which could lead to a dependency. A recent cancer journal article cited that UV radiation has positive, and addictive, effects on mood. This idea of addictive tanning is further supported by a recent study that found some who have been diagnosed with melanoma continue to use indoor tanning beds.
  7. An estimated 3,000 emergency room cases are reported each year due to indoor tanning beds and lamp exposure. 
  8. The risk of developing melanoma increases by 1.5 percent per session. For those who begin tanning before the age of 30, the risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent
  9. Skin cancer cases from indoor tanning recently surpassed lung cancer cases caused by smoking.
  10. Here are 480 more reasons. Indoor tanning not only costs you your health, but your hard earned cash. At an average of 40 dollars a month, swearing off indoor tanning for a whole year could save you $480.

Reduce Your Risk of Skin Cancer

In addition to avoiding tanning beds, you can protect yourself from UV radiation and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. The CDC recommends:

  • Using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that boasts broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum protection, which is designed to shield you from both UVA and UVB rays
  • Reapplying sunscreen every two hours and after a swim, even if you are using the water-resistant kind
  • Wearing a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, ears and neck
  • Utilizing sunglasses that can shield you from UVA and UVB rays
  • Wearing sun-protective clothing when appropriate
  • Taking a break from the sun in nearby shade to give your skin relief

Self-Examination for Skin Cancer

The American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone do a skin self-exam once a month, and more often for people with a family history of skin cancer. When performing a skin self-examination, be on the lookout for moles, blemishes, sores or bumps that may be new or changing in color or texture.

If you do spot one of these abnormalities, don’t panic. Simply consult your physician or dermatologist for a complete skin examination.

Cancer Treatment at UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital

A cancer diagnosis can be life changing, which is why the team at UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital is there for you through every step of your battle. Our specially trained team of oncology physicians and nurses offer services for all types of cancer and provide complete in- and out-patient cancer care to Waterloo, Iowa, and surrounding areas. To learn more about the cancer treatment services available, call (319) 235-5163.