In a series of three review papers, published in the journal Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research, the authors suggest that indoor tanning beds, used mainly by young women, are linked to an increased risk of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
They have even recommended banning under-18s from using such beds as well as any publicity material claiming that tanning beds are safe.
Dr. David E Fisher, dermatologist and president of the Society of Melanoma Research, and his colleagues from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have explored the social issues and molecular mechanisms related to tanning caused by UV exposure in one of the papers.
The authors say that both tanning and skin cancer seem to begin with the same event - a DNA damage caused by UV exposure.
Based on their observations, they came to the conclusion that a 'safe' tan with UV might be a physical impossibility.
The authors conclude: "UVR [ultraviolet radiation] exposure represents one of the most avoidable causes of cancer risk and mortality in man. Whereas genetic and other factors undoubtedly contribute importantly to skin cancer risk, the role of UV is incontrovertible, and efforts to confuse the public, particularly for purposes of economic gain by the indoor tanning industry, should be vigorously combated for the public health."