tanningYou may hear lots of excuses that people use to justify Indoor Tanning services.  But there’s only one indisputable reason to use Indoor Tanning services:  you want to get skin cancer.  So much so, that the World Health Organization declared that indoor tanning is a human carcinogen and recommended that it should be universally banned.

The studies that have been trickling out over the past five years pretty much sum it up:  Indoor Tanning increases the risk of getting skin cancer — especially the dangerous melanomas — by up to 600%.    And the studies’ findings are unanimous;  indoor tanning =  increased skin cancer risk.

The most recent study, published in JAMA Dermatology on Jan. 27,  found that the most likely individuals to develop the disease at an early age arewomen who used sunbeds or tanning beds in their teen years. They found that women who used tanning beds as teens and during their 20s have up to six times increased risk for the deadly skin cancer compared with their counterparts who did not tan indoors.  The data revealed that the women in their 30s had more than thrice the risk of developing melanoma if they tanned indoors. The risk is more than twice higher in women in their 40s. The researchers also observed that the women who were diagnosed with melanoma at an early age had more tanning sessions than those who were diagnosed at an older age.

The findings of this study support a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposal to ban indoor tanning to those below 18 years old as the use of sunbeds has been significantly linked to the development of skin cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) already classified indoor tanning as a human carcinogen in 2009.  In 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reviewed 19 large studies and calculated that indoor tanning increases the risk of squamous cell cancer by 125%.  Subsequently, a 2010 study compared 1,167 patients with invasive cutaneous melanoma in Minnesota with 1,101 matched control subjects. This study found that indoor tanning increased the risk of melanoma by 74%.The research also found that those who have tanned indoors before 35 years old have a 75% increased risk of skin cancer when compared with those who have never done indoor tanning.

And a recent report from Australia also found that indoor tanning is the key driver to skin cancer.  Australia’s Sydney School of Public Health studied 604 patients with invasive cutaneous melanoma and found that those who used indoor tanning 10 or more times before the age of 29 had a 600% increased risk of melanoma. After the study results were released, three states in Australia have banned commercial indoor tanning outright.   Since 2003, several countries have created regulations on indoor tanning. Brazil, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Portugal have restricted indoor tanning to adults. Brazil later moved to a complete ban.

The Tanning Booth industry claims that newer tanning beds may be equipped with low ballast bulbs that conduct far less voltage and thus less EMFs – which have been implicated in other research as cancer-causing.  However, this remains unproven.  Some tanning salons also utilize red light therapy in their tanning beds – which has been shown to slightly increase skin healing, but once they use an UVB, the dangers become significant.

To those consumers who still choose to use indoor tanning services, we wish them luck in the skin cancer roulette game that they’ve entered.  But for any consumers who seek to avoid the life-threatening and disfiguring impacts of skin cancer, we urge that you avoid tanning salons like the carcinogenic plague that they have proven to be.