Precaution for Tanning Bed or Sunbed Esp. Under Age of 35

Precaution for Tanning Bed or Sunbed Esp. Under Age of 35

The alarming reality of indoor tanning is the percentage of teens that are using tanning booths and approximately 80 percent of sun exposure and damage occurs before the age of 18.Studies show it is young women who are putting themselves at greatest risk.Teens do not see the effects tanning may have on their health because usually they are not haunted by sun exposure until later in life. Cancer, wrinkles, “leathery” skin and eye problems are all delayed effects of sun exposure.The studies that do exist [on artificial tanning] suggest that like outdoor sun exposure, short-term recreational tanning booth exposure can lead to the same molecular and genetic damage that can cause skin cancer.


As the long cold days of winter pale our complexion, thousands will turn to tanning booths to brighten their skin and their spirits.A tanning bed or sunbed is a device emitting ultraviolet radiation (typically 97% UVA and 3% UVB, +/-3%) used to produce a cosmetic tan. There are a few units called "high pressure" beds that generate primarily UVA with some UVB but these are much less common and much more expensive. Regular tanning beds use several fluorescent lamps that have phosphor blends designed to emit UV in a spectrum that is somewhat similar to the sun.

Teens are specially are at risk. They should avoid sunlamps and tanning parlours. Sunbeds damage the skin and unprotected eyes and so are best avoided entirely. WHO recommends that no one under 18 use a tanning bed. Children are generally more susceptible to environmental hazards than adults. During outdoor activities, they should be protected from high UV exposure as above, and babies should always remain in the shade.

People who use tanning beds do not protect themselves from skin damage from subsequent sun exposure, an international research group has concluded. In fact, use of sunbeds before age 35 substantially increases the risk of developing melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, the investigators found.

"Young adults should be discouraged from using indoor tanning equipment and restricted access to sunbeds by minors should be strongly considered," the Working Group on artificial UV light and skin cancer of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concludes in the issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

Men and women who ever used sunbeds were 15 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the researchers found, based on 19 studies they reviewed. A review of seven studies found that exposure to tanning beds before age 35 boosted melanoma risk by 75 percent.

While three studies of a less-deadly type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, also found increased risk with sunbed exposure, research did not support a link with basal cell carcinoma, another common type of skin cancer.

Given that sunbed use has become widespread only relatively recently, and that both melanoma and basal cell carcinoma have a long latency period, the current study may not have been able to detect all potential risk, the researchers note.

Nevertheless, they say, current evidence is strong enough to suggest that tanning bed use causes skin cancer, especially if exposure to sunbeds occurs before the age of 35.

"The strength of the existing evidence suggests that policy makers should strongly consider enacting measures such as restricting minors and discouraging young adults from using indoor tanning equipment, in order to protect the general population from additional risk for melanoma and squamous cell skin cancer," the IARC group concludes.

Some safety precautionary tips:

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