This cold, snowy winter has most of us longing for some sunshine. The tanning salon may seem tempting right about now, but are you aware of the health risks associated with tanning beds? Regular use of tanning beds triples or even quadruples the risk of developing melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Despite restrictive public health laws, about 30 million people continue to go tanning every year, about 70 percent of whom are young women.
According to the New York State Department of Health, the health risks associated with indoor tanning include:
- Skin cancer
- Burns and injury to the skin and eyes
- Premature aging of the skin
- Allergic reactions
- Worsen existing medical conditions
- Immune suppression
Factors that put you at increased risk for developing skin cancer:
- Lighter natural skin
- Family or personal history of skin cancer
- History of sunburn early in life
- Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or is painful in the sun
- Blue or green eyes and blond or red hair
- Certain types and/or a large number of moles
According to research, there is no such thing as a safe tanning device. The International Agency for Research on Cancer shifted indoor tanning devices to the highest cancer risk category: “carcinogenic to humans.” (They were formerly classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”).
Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Protect yourself by avoiding indoor tanning and always wearing sunscreen when there is a risk for exposure to UVA/UVB rays.