Once indoor tanning was presented as safe and convenient way of getting your tan avoiding long sun baths. In fact, latest research clearly states that it produces 10 to 15 times as much ultraviolet radiation as natural sunlight.
At the same time, basal cell carcinoma, most common type of skin cancer, was believed to be restricted to the older age only.
That myth was also shattered, as the strongest connection between the developing disease and its roots was actually observed among those who were first exposed to indoor tanning at the young age.
Teenagers usually get an easy access to such procedures without realizing the consequences, as it's not prohibited in most cases. A special legislation was introduced by some US states aiming at protecting young people. It required parents to sign a consent form if they actually allow their underage children to use tanning beds. Unfortunately, their efforts failed, mostly because the majority of tanning salons ignore the legislation. And even if they don't, teenagers easily fake consent forms.
Consequently, they tend to become the main targets of indoor tanning industry and are subjected to danger of getting skin cancer starting from an early age.
While it is usually treatable, high rate of recurrence may result in various symptoms:
- premature skin aging, e.g. wrinkles and age spots;
- change of skin texture;
- painful disfiguring at the late stages;
- potential risk of blinding eye diseases (accompanying ocular cancer).
Ultraviolet exposure should be minimized to the limit, because the chance to fall ill grows with the time a person spends tanning indoors. Statistics shows that people who had tanned indoors for more than 50 hours were three times more likely to develop the disease. Due to continuous accumulation of the unhealthy carcinogen greater lifetime exposure in its turn increases risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Moreover, young skin is extremely vulnerable to UV radiation.
In last thirty years tanning beds have become immensely popular all around the world and not without bad consequences. Noticeable rise of melanoma rates was acknowledged by an Icelandic research immediately after tanning beds were introduced in the country. As Icelandic people have normally very little exposure to the sun due to the cold climate of their country, the only reason for the sudden growth of the disease rate could be subscribed to the unnatural ultraviolet radiation.
So, why do people still deny the facts and continue using indoors tanning even being constantly warned?
Surely, the most productive field of propaganda is mass-media. High quality advertising leaves immature people practically no chance for independent thinking. The image of a beautiful young woman lying on a perfectly equipped tanning bed is too seductive to leave space for thoughts about possible negative results for her health, such as painful disease, disfiguring and high mortality risk.
However, it's a mistake to believe that the danger is lessened due to the modern technologies development. Solar radiation is one of the most hazardous cancer reasons and newer tanning machines are in this case as risky as older ones irrelevant of their type. Connection between all types of indoor tanning devices, including sunlamps or tanning beds, and skin cancer development is undeniable. By far, even position of the tumors reveals the character of the radiation source. For instance, tumors on the back and chest are unmistakable indicators of indoor tanning.
Special prevention policy should be introduced which task would be to inform the young about the danger, to discredit false information about the positive effects of indoor tanning spread by its companies and to encourage parents in scolding such tendencies in teens' behavior.