Are You Paying For Skin Cancer? The Clear and Present Danger Posed by Tanning Booths

In the dead of winter, or perhaps just in time for summer you may be tempted to go for a relaxing visit to a sun tanning salon. Far from being a healthy way to get a “base tan” or warm skin tone, tanning booths expose you to increased risk of skin cancer.

The statistics related to the increase cancer risk from tanning booths are both frightening and disturbing. If you visit a tanning bed and tan for 10 minutes between one and ten times in a calendar year, your risk of malignant melanoma rises 400 percent.

If you are an indoor tanning worshipper and tan between 10 and 20 times in a calendar year, your risk of developing malignant melanoma rise 800 percent.

You’re basically buying yourself malignant melanoma by going to a tanning booth.” states Dr. Virginia Stevens, a doctor based in Seattle.

Dr Stevens rejects the notion of safe indoor tanning, stating that “when they say it’s a non-UVA, non-UVB, non-ultraviolet tanning, that’s just senseless. There aren’t any tanning rays not associated with developing cancer.”

Rather than a sign of health, a tan is a sign of injury. Your skin gets tan when it perceives harmful radiation. Your skin changes color in an attempt to ward off the damage. More specifically, melanin in your skin gets activated by a response to a radiation photon injury. The damage leads to visible signs of premature aging including facial wrinkles and age spots.

Dr. Stevens is deeply concerned about teens going to tanning salons. “If you start at 15 and go regularly until you are like 25, it’s just a matter of time before you develop a malignant melanoma. Malignant melanoma is a very bad actor that we all want to avoid.”

One alternative that’s increasingly popular with those who don’t want to take on the risks posed by tanning is to get spray on tans. These “fake” tans last for up to 2 weeks and add the same, warm glow to your skin you expect to get from a tanning booth.

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