An international study has come out strongly against the use of sunbeds or tanning beds, especially in persons aged below 35 years.
According to the Working Group on artificial UV light and skin cancer of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), persons who use these tanning beds in order to avoid skin damage from sun exposure end up exposing themselves to higher risks of developing melanoma, the most dreaded skin cancer.
The group which published the report in the International Journal of Cancer, reviewed all studies on the subject done up to March 2006.
Based on 19 studies, the group found that out of men or women who ever used sunbeds, 15 percent were more likely to develop melanoma.
A review of seven studies found that exposure to tanning beds before age 35 boosted melanoma risk by 75 percent.
While three studies of a less-deadly type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, also found increased risk with sunbed exposure, research did not support a link with basal cell carcinoma, another common type of skin cancer.
In the light of these discoveries, the IARC has called for urgent action from the government in regulating the use of tanning chambers, especially for young people.
The group concludes: "The strength of the existing evidence suggests that policy makers should strongly consider enacting measures such as restricting minors and discouraging young adults from using indoor tanning equipment, in order to protect the general population from additional risk for melanoma and squamous cell skin cancer."