Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which is formed from specialized skin cells called melanocytes that produce the protective skin-darkening pigment melanin. It is the second most common cancer found in women aged 20 to 30 years old. A new study has revealed that artificial tanning with indoor tanning bed, booth, or sunlamp can lead to melanoma. It can also cause other problems such as cataracts, reactions with medications and early-onset aging of the skin.
Rogerio Neves, deputy director of the Penn State Hershey Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center, said, "It was clearly not related only to regular exposure. Childhood sunburns and ultraviolet (UV) exposure in adulthood may also contribute to melanoma risk, but the rise in the use of indoors tanning beds is one of the main reasons behind this trend."
Many gyms and fitness centers offer free, unlimited tanning as a perk of membership packages and market it to high school and college students. Although most of the young users are introduced to tanning beds as a one-time thing they plan to do for prom, it can become addicting.
Neeves said, "The lamps used in tanning beds emit over 95% UVA rays and minimal UVB rays. The UVB rays that come from natural sunshine are what make you feel burned and red and cause you to seek shade and protection. Because they are present in such small quantities in the tanning beds people can stay in there frying and not feeling any bad sensations. UVA radiation is also more harmful than UVB in that it penetrates deeper into the skin and create more harmful mutations. There is no such thing as a healthy tan, and so individuals who have darker skin because of their ethnic backgrounds must still use sunscreen and other precautions to avoid prolonged exposure outdoors."