It could save your life and your looks
Almost 36 percent of the women and 12.2 percent of the men aged 18-24 surveyed in a recent study tanned indoors in the last year, according to the journal Archives of Dermatology. These young people may believe they look better with a tan, but in fact they are putting themselves at risk for skin cancer and aging their skin prematurely.
Tanning machines emit dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and frequent tanners using new high-pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation they would receive from regular sun exposure.
"Our hope for the new year is that people begin to understand that tanning beds are dangerous and very harmful to the skin," said Perry Robins, MD, President, The Skin Cancer Foundation."We hope in 2011 that use of tanning beds will decrease."
UV radiation is a proven human carcinogen, and is linked with a higher risk of all forms of skin cancer, including potentially deadly melanoma, which is the most common form of cancer among young adults 25-29 years old. On average, indoor tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanomas than non-tanners. They are also 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, the two most common skin cancers.
The damage caused by the UV radiation emitted by the sun and tanning beds is cumulative and often irreversible. The destructive process of photoaging - premature skin aging due to UV exposure - produces profound structural changes in the skin including fine wrinkles, deep grooves, blotchiness, sagging and a leathery texture. Some of these changes may appear as early as the age of 20 in anyone who has spent a great deal of time exposing their skin to UV radiation during childhood and teen years.
"Chronic exposure to UVA radiation accelerates the aging of skin five to seven years," said Philippe Humbert, MD, head of the Department of Dermatology at the University Hospital of Besanon and Director of the Laboratory of Cutaneous Biology at the University of Franche-Comte in Besaneon, France.
In addition to the obvious health risks and link to premature aging, the tanned look is no longer in fashion. The trend started with Hollywood actresses such as Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow and is now taking hold. Natural skin is now generally viewed as modern while tanned skin is viewed as dated. The Skin Cancer Foundation's Go With Your Own Glow campaign encourages women to embrace their natural skin tone.
Click here to read more about how to Go With Your Own Glow.