In a culture which endorses glowing, tanned skin it is important to know the possible consequences of tanning before partaking in either outdoor or indoor tanning. Tanned skin itself is damaged skin. The color change, caused by excess production of a pigment called melanin is actually a reaction to the skin damage. It is the body’s attempt to prevent further damage.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, indoor tanning is not safer than outdoor tanning, neither are. Using indoor tanning beds before age 35 can increase your risk of melanoma 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.
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun as well as artificial sources has recently been deemed a Class one human carcinogen, the highest risk category of cancer-causing substances by the United States Department of Health as well as the World Health Organization’s International Agency of Research on Cancer. Indoor tanning may cause upwards of 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States annually.
Melanoma, which is cancer of pigment producing cells, is a common consequence of tanning. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the rays can not only increase your risk of a mole progressing to melanoma, but can also cause melanoma. UV radiation from indoor tanning has also been linked to increased risk of other skin cancers including both squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
One person dies every minute from Melanoma.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, cancer is not the only possible consequence of tanning. Exposure to UV rays has been proven to damage the DNA in skin cells. Exposure can also lead to premature skin aging, immune system suppression, and eye damage including but not limited to cataracts and ocular melanoma (cancer of the eyes). Frequent tanning can also lead to dependence and addiction.
A common myth regarding sun exposure is that the sun can actually help clear acne. According to BioClarity, this simply is not true; it can actually worsen skin that is acne-prone. Both UV rays from a tanning bed and excess time in the sun can dry out the skin resulting in an increase of sebum production which may cause breakouts.
This myth is derived from the temporary effects of sun exposure: tan skin and resolved acne, but these effects may only last one or two days. While tanning may provide temporary relief of acne, the dried skin and excess sebum production will actually worsen acne when the visually positive effects wear off.