That bronzed goddess look could be dangerous
A recent study published in the journal BMJ found that indoor tanning may account for more than 170,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers in the U.S. each year. People younger than 25 are particularly susceptible, the study found. Non-melanoma cancers are less deadly than melanoma but still serious. The most common types are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma.
Medical experts say the risks of indoor tanning outweigh any cosmetic benefits. Dr. Tony Hampton, a family medicine physician with the Advocate Medical Group, says whether indoors or out, tanning isn’t a good idea.
“Though limited exposure to tanning beds may not be as harmful, we recommend avoiding tanning altogether,” he says.
Though some may think indoor tanning is safer than baking under the hot sun, it’s not, Hampton says.
“The levels of UVA radiation during indoor tanning are up to three times that of UVA rays that reach the earth from the sun,” Hampton said. “That fact alone should be enough to avoid it all together.”
Hampton says young people in particular should always avoid indoor tanning. In Illinois, according to current law, children younger than 14 are restricted from indoor tanning. Kids between 14 and 17 need parental consent to tan inside. But things change on January 1, 2014, as Illinois enacts a new law that bans indoor tanning for anyone younger than 18.
“While that rich brown skin tone might make you look healthy, those UVA rays are actually killing skin cells and causing structural damage to the skin,” Hampton explains.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.