Tanning beds have long been controversial. Many people use tanning beds occasionally to get a base tan or before a big event; others use ultraviolet radiation on an everyday basis. It is not a surprise to hear that all kinds of tanning could put people at risk for skin cancer. But now, the World Health Organization gives us a serious warning in terms of tanning beds.
Tanning beds moved into the top cancer risk category.
A new study led by experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organization’s cancer arm, shows that skin cancer risk increases by 75 percent for those who used tanning beds before the age of 30.
It is impossible to know exactly how many benign skin cancers might be caused by tanning beds, because of other factors such as the exposure to regular sunlight. But the study shows that no matter how infrequent, tanners are putting themselves at high risk.
It doesn’t matter if it is UVA and UVB light neither. Tanning beds use UVB light, which still increases the risk of cancer.
In fact, experts found that all types of ultraviolet radiation caused worrying mutations in mice, proof the radiation is carcinogenic. Previously, only one type of ultraviolet radiation was thought to be lethal.
Some people use tanning beds not only for tanning but also as a treatment to improve skin conditions. The notion that sunlight can improve skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, or eczema is what caused scientists and dermatologists to develop UVB light treatments without having the harmful effect of UVA. But now, this new study put this kind of treatments at risk again…
Is there a safe way to tan and get sunlight?
The American Cancer Society advises people to try bronzing or self-tanning creams instead of tanning beds. If you choose to do so, visit this website: EWS’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database and choose a safe and natural tanning cream.
What about sunbathing? There is still a risk of skin cancer as well. The best you can do is to avoid sun between 10am to 3pm when the ultraviolet is the strongest and to apply a good natural sunscreen (and reapply it frequently).