Indoor tanning before age 35 can increase melanoma risk by 59%
Indoor tanning before age 35 can increase one’s risk of melanoma by 59%. This risk increases with each use, warn American dermatologists.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., affecting one in five Americans in their lifetime. Limiting exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the number one way individuals can reduce their risk of skin cancer, though new data suggests that UV exposure is on the rise, particularly among Caucasian girls and young women, declared the American academy of dermatology in a statement.
Because there’s a delay between UV exposure and when skin cancer appears, most women don’t think it will happen to them,” says board-certified dermatologist M. Laurin Council, MD, FAAD, FACMS, an associate professor of dermatology at Washington University in St. Louis.
This data reveals the disproportionate rise in the number of skin cancers in women and the need for further education regarding UV exposure.”
Continued use of indoor tanning devices by Caucasian girls and young women is of particular focus, as researchers estimate that it may cause more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year. Women are far more likely to use indoor tanning devices than men (7.8 versus 1.9 million), and of the women who began tanning before the age of 16, more than half (54%) did so with their mother.
One indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing melanoma by 20%
Even one indoor tanning session can increase a user’s lifetime risk of developing melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67% and basal cell carcinoma by 29%. The risk increases for younger users; indoor tanning before age 35 can increase one’s risk of melanoma by 59%.This risk increases with each use.
It’s important that young people understand the potential impact of the habits they form when they are younger,” says Dr. Council. “There are serious, long-term consequences to activities such as sun bathing and using indoor tanning devices.”
Parents should talk about limiting UV exposure
Dr. Council recommends that parents talk with their children about limiting UV exposure, which is the easiest way to prevent skin cancer. This means practicing sun-safety habits, such as seeking shade, especially when the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; wearing protective clothing, including a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses; and regularly applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Parents should also discourage the use of indoor tanning devices.
Everyone should be happy with the skin they were born with and protect it,” says Dr. Council. “Some skin cancers are treatable with surgery, but others are more advanced and may be deadly. It’s important that we modify risky behaviors such as UV exposure to prevent the occurrence of skin cancer.”
Risks of indoor tanning
- Indoor tanning equipment, which includes all artificial light sources, including beds, lamps, bulbs, booths, etc., emits UVA and UVB radiation. The amount of the radiation produced during indoor tanning is similar to that of the sun, and in some cases might be stronger.
- Evidence from multiple studies has shown that exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning devices is associated with an increased risk of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
- Researchers estimate that indoor tanning may cause upwards of 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year.
- Higher melanoma rates among young females compared to young males may be due in part to the widespread use of indoor tanning among females.
- Using indoor tanning beds before age 35 can increase your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59 percent; the risk increases with each use. Women younger than 30 are six times more likely to develop melanoma if they tan indoors.
- Research demonstrates that even people who do not burn after indoor tanning or sun exposure are at an increased risk of melanoma if they tan indoors.
- Even one indoor tanning session can increase users’ risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent, squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent.
- Indoor tanning before age 24 increases one’s risk of developing basal cell carcinoma by age 50.
- Studies have demonstrated that exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning damages the DNA in the skin cells. Excessive exposure to UV radiation during indoor tanning can lead to premature skin aging, immune suppression, and eye damage, including cataracts and ocular melanoma.
- A recent investigation estimated that 3,234 injuries related to indoor tanning — including burns, loss of consciousness and eye injuries — were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments every year from 2003 to 2012.
- In addition to the above-mentioned risks, frequent, intentional exposure to UV light may lead to tanning addiction.