How Indoor Tanning Increases Risk of Cancer

Young women who use tanning beds year-round may be putting themselves at significant risk for developing the deadliest form of skin cancer, Health Day reports. Between those who tanned indoors versus those who tan outdoors, the study found that those who use tanning beds face a higher risk of developing melanoma.

“We found the risk of melanoma was 74 percent higher in persons who tanned indoors than in persons who had not,” lead researcher DeAnn Lazovich tells the health website. “We also found that people who tanned indoors a lot were 2.5 to 3 times more likely to develop melanoma than people who had never tanned indoors,” Lazovich says.

Overall, Lazovich concludes on the website that their findings were very “consistent,” regardless of gender, age or the type of indoor tanning device used.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, on an average day in the United States, more than 1 million people tan in tanning salons. Nearly 70 percent of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian girls and women, primarily aged 16 to 29 years.

Indoor tanning exposes users to both UV-A and UV-B rays, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer. Using a tanning bed is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin tanning younger than age 35 have a 59% higher risk of melanoma. Using tanning beds also increases the risk of wrinkles and eye damage, and changes skin texture according to the Center for Disease Control. Indoor tanning is not safer than the sun and you can still get a burn from tanning indoors

The National Cancer Institute estimates that the number of melanoma cases in the U.S. has doubled in the past 30 years, highlighting the need for young Americans to better understand their risks of developing preventable cancer.

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