Tanning beautiful skin can enhance cancer risk


The most awaited summer time is back with beach season. People are planning to get sun bronzed glow – getting tanned either lying under the sun or using indoor tanning beds. Most of the people think that they look better with a tan skin.  But health experts say something else. There has been several studies conducted that concludes tanning or exposure to UV radiation—whether from the sun or from artificial sources can lead to skin cancer.  Recently FDA reviewed the tanning beds/ tanning lamps and is planning to put new restrictions on these devices, which have been found carcinogens for human.  

How tanning happens?
Tanning is caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning lamps. During exposure to UV radiation, skin acts in self-defense by producing more melanin, a pigment that darkens the skin. Over time, this damage can lead to premature skin aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), as well as skin cancer.  

What kind of rays can cause skin cancer?
There are two types of UV radiation that pen­etrate the skin – UV-B and UV-A rays.

• UV-B rays penetrate the top layers of skin and are most responsible for sunburns.
• UV-A rays penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin and are often associated with allergic reactions,
such as a rash.

 Both UV-B and UV-A rays damage the skin and can lead to skin cancer.  

What is the risk of developing skin cancer?
National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55% more likely to develop melanoma (skin cancer).  

Also development of cancer is a long process that may take decades. Therefore, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recommended banning commercial indoor tanning for those younger than 18 years to protect them from the increased risk for melanoma and other skin cancers. 

href="http://www.knowabouthealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/tanning-bed.jpg" target="_blank">Why sunlamps and tanning beds are not safe to use?
Sunlamps and tanning beds promise consumers a bronzed body year-round, these devices emit both UV-A and UV-B radiation that poses serious health risks.  

In July 2009, the IARC, part of the World Health Organization, concluded that tanning devices that emit UV radiation are more dangerous than previously thought. IARC moved these devices into the highest cancer risk category: “carcinogenic to humans.” Previously, it had categorized the devices as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” 

What are the other risk factors associated with tanning to the body?
In addition to the serious risk of skin cancer, tanning can cause:

Premature aging – Tanning causes the skin to lose elasticity and wrinkle prematurely.
Immune suppression –  UV-B radiation may suppress proper functioning of the body’s immune system and the skin’s natural defenses, leaving you more vulnerable to diseases, including skin cancer.
Eye damage –  Exposure to UV radiation can cause irreversible damage to the eyes.
• Allergic reaction –  UV radiation may develop an itchy red rash and other adverse effects. 

A tan, whether you get it on the beach, in a bed, or through incidental exposure, can be bad for your body. FDA suggests that limiting sun exposure and using sunscreen or sun block are particularly important, as these measures can prevent skin from sunburn and exposure to UV rays. For more details refer FDA Consumer Health Information that has been published in May 2010:

6 Responses

  1. I think it’s time that more teenage magazines took responsibility and covered more serious issues such as breast cancer genetic markers.

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