Artificial tanning beds pose an additional risk for the health of our skin and lead to the development of melanoma. However, millions of people throughout the world continue to use them, despite the warnings of doctors and health authorities. A new scientific study confirms the seriousness of the problem.
This blog has frequently highlighted the health risks posed by artificial ultraviolet (UV) light tanning, mainly because they represent a high risk factor for developing melanoma, the most aggressive of the skin cancers. We are not alone: medical associations – pointing to irrefutable scientific studies – have been warning that this practice is the direct cause of the dramatic increase in skin cancers witnessed in recent decades, especially in white women.
Health authorities have also taken up the problem and many countries have introduced bans or restrictions on the use of such facilities, particularly Brazil, which has simply banned them outright. At present, 11 European countries prohibit minors from using tanning beds.
But despite the evidence, 28 million Americans, for example, still practice artificial tanning. A recent paper published in the USA confirms that the risk of melanoma increases by 75% among frequent users of tanning beds (more than ten tanning sessions per year) under the age of 35 years. Furthermore, each additional session per year adds to that risk by 1.8%. These are proven scientific data.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently begun to develop a new series of measures that will affect the characteristics of tanning bed lamps and that will also oblige manufacturers to visibly label risks for users.
From those of us who advocate skin health, the advice is straighforward: avoid artificial tanning beds or reduce their use to a minimum. There are other ways to be tanned all year without unduly endangering health.