Tanning, whether through natural sun exposure or artificial means such as tanning beds, has become a popular activity for many people seeking a bronzed skin appearance. Texans seem to be more inclined to use this during the winter months. However, many people may not realize is that the process of tanning, whether natural or artificial, exposes the skin to harmful UV (ultraviolet) radiation.
Excessive exposure to UV radiation can lead to skin damage, including premature aging, sunburn, and an increased risk of skin cancer. UV radiation is a known human carcinogen, which means that it has been proven to cause cancer in humans.
The risk of skin cancer is especially high for individuals who use tanning beds regularly. Studies have shown that people who use tanning beds before the age of 20 increase their risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 47%. (11)
In addition to skin cancer, UV radiation can also cause other health problems such as eye damage, immune suppression, and premature aging. Excessive sun exposure can lead to the development of wrinkles, age spots, and other skin damage that can make you look older than your years.
To protect yourself from the dangers of UV radiation, it is important to practice safe sun exposure. This includes wearing protective clothing, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor), and seeking shade when the sun is at its strongest, typically between 10 am and 4 pm. If you must use a tanning bed, it is important to limit your exposure and use protective eyewear.
In conclusion, tanning, whether natural or artificial, exposes the skin to harmful UV radiation that can cause skin damage, skin cancer, and other health problems. To protect yourself from the dangers of UV radiation, it is important to practice safe sun exposure and avoid excessive tanning. If you have any concerns about your skin or your exposure to UV radiation, it is best to speak with a healthcare professional.
11An S, Kim K, Moon S, et al. Indoor Tanning and the Risk of Overall and Early-Onset Melanoma and Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Cancers (Basel). 2021;13(23):5940. Published 2021 Nov 25. doi:10.3390/cancers13235940