With May being Skin Cancer Awareness Month, it seems pertinent to focus on a very controversial topic in skincare: tanning. Whether indoors or outdoors, tanning is never safe. Tanning has a direct link to skin cancers, the most common type of cancer in the US. Tans are caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning bed lamps. In fact, if you have a tan from UV exposure, you’ve already damaged your skin cells. For years, tanning bed companies have tried to tell consumers they are Vitamin D deficient — a deficiency that can be reversed through the use of tanning beds. In actuality, tanning bed bulbs emit UVA and UVB radiation. Even occasional use of tanning beds can triple your chances of developing melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Ultimately, tanning of any kind, but especially indoors, is harmful to the body in a myriad of ways.
- Tanning increases aging: When the skin burns or tans, skin cell damage can result in wrinkles, age spots and loss of skin firmness. Studies show, tanning actually accelerates the aging process, thus creating a leathery, dry, wrinkly appearance to the skin.
- Tanning can be addictive: Understanding the reason why some continue to tan despite all the research available today is complicated. Studies have shown tanning and its enhancing effects on appearance and attitude can be addictive. A 2017 Georgetown University study shows that 20 % of people who tan show signs of dependency. And when the euphoric feeling associated with tanning fades, many of the tanning bed users felt signs of depression as a result.
- Tanning causes skin cancer: Just like cigarette smoking, there is no “safe” amount of tanning you can do to prevent skin cancer. As many as 90% of melanoma cases are estimated to be caused by UV exposure. Just one blistering sunburn can double your chances of developing melanoma later in life, and the more time spent tanning, the higher the risk of developing melanoma and other types of skin cancer.
Everyone, no matter their skin type or color, is at risk of developing skin cancer. Remember to always use sunscreen, even in cloudy conditions, and seek shade as often as possible. The daily practice of these habits will make an impact on your skin health and longevity.
Here at Collins Advanced Dermatology Institute, we can help with any tanning concerns you might have. Whether it’s skin cancer screenings or the best safe, self-tanning products on the market, we can help. Give us a call today for more information at 512.379.6090 or book an appointment online.