Make No Mistake: Sunless Tanning is Still Tanning

During this time of year when natural sunlight may be lacking, many people head to their local tanning salon for a quick boost. The prevalence of tanning salons across the country demonstrates that too many people still do not know the dangers of this practice. Polls also indicate perceived safety. Tanning beds are manufactured under strict guidelines. Tanning is overseen by the salon personnel, who must monitor the UV exposure of their beds, right? Wrong. In no way, shape, or form is indoor tanning safe.

The World Health Organization attributes approximately 400,000 new cases of skin cancer each year to indoor tanning. And that is in the United States alone. Furthermore, the organization considers artificial UV light a carcinogen, a substance that causes cancer.

How Many Times Can We Say It?

Dermatologists and other healthcare professionals have been saying it for years: “there is no such thing as a healthy tan.” A suntan is the evidence of melanin production. Increased production of melanin occurs as a result of sun or UV exposure because melanin is a defense response. The changes that make the skin appear darker happen at a molecular level, mostly due to UVB rays that are causing damage.

Tanning Beds are Not Controlled

One of the arguments for tanning bed use is that UV exposure is controlled. Lying under artificial UV light for a short period may prevent a full-blown sunburn. However, the very mechanism of indoor tanning is to emit ultraviolet light. Furthermore, the UV rays that may be delivered via artificial light are those that cause hidden damage in the DNA cells of the skin. This is where the cancer risk is alive and well.

Does Your Teen Wish to Tan?

In recent years, surveys suggested that teens were some of the biggest fans of indoor tanning. Naturally, we don’t expect young adults to spend the necessary time researching the effects and dangers of tanning, let alone using artificial UV light. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indoor tanners under the age of 35 have a risk of melanoma that is 59% higher than those who do not use tanning lamps. This proven risk is so significant that some states ban minors from obtaining indoor tanning services.

The American Society for Mohs Surgery is dedicated to helping dermatologists develop the necessary skills to treat skin cancer with the highest success rates possible. Additionally, we consider it our responsibility to continue spreading awareness about the dangers of all types of UV exposure.

We are proud to serve physicians and their patients. Contact us today if you are interested in membership with the ASMS or are looking for a Mohs surgeon in your area.

Posted in: Skin Care

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American Society for Mohs Surgery
6475 East Pacific Coast Highway, Box 700
Long Beach, CA 90803-4201
Telephone: (714) 379-6262 or
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