Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Good to Know: indoor tanning and skin health - new scientific data.

Tanning bed in use
Photo By Evil Erin (http://www.flickr.com/photos/evilerin/3096163337/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

We noted that there is a common misconception in regards to safety of tanning. For some reasons quite a few clients are convinced that the in-door tanning is somehow safer than exposure to the sun's UV.

In 2012 The British Journal of Medicine published an article on UV which reviewed available data from different studies. Below we highlighted a few important points:

Exposure to the sun is the most important environmental cause of skin cancer, with the wavelength for ultraviolet radiation associated with development of the disease.1 <...>
In light skinned populations, the ultraviolet radiation delivered by sunbeds has become the main non-solar source of exposure to ultraviolet light. Indoor tanning has been widely practised in northern Europe and the United States since the 1980s,2 and since 2000 this trend has gained popularity in sunnier countries, such as Australia.3 4 Modern indoor tanning equipment mainly emits in the ultraviolet A range, but a fraction (<5%) of this spectrum is in the ultraviolet B range. This ultraviolet B fraction induces a deep, long lasting tan.
Powerful ultraviolet tanning units may be 10-15 times stronger than the midday sunlight on the Mediterranean Sea, and repeated exposure to large amounts of ultraviolet A delivered to the skin in relatively short periods (typically 10-20 minutes) constitutes a new experience for humans.

Indoor tanning has a plethora of negative health effects, many of which are involved in cancerous processes.5 The impact of this trend on incidence of skin cancer is of concern, mainly because of cutaneous malignant melanoma, a cancer of poor prognosis when diagnosed at an advanced stage.
Until recently ultraviolet B was usually considered the only carcinogenic fraction of the solar spectrum reaching the Earth’s surface. In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the whole ultraviolet spectrum and indoor tanning devices as carcinogenic to humans (group 1).6 The rationale for classifying ultraviolet A and sunbeds as group 1 carcinogens was based on congruent lines of evidence from basic and epidemiological research. Briefly, extensive laboratory data and animal experiments (on DNA mutations and repair, immune function, cell integrity, cell cycle regulation, and other critical biological functions) documented a role for ultraviolet A in skin carcinogenesis7 8 9 and that the body’s repair and removal of damaged DNA was less effective when the damage was caused by ultraviolet A rather than by ultraviolet B.10 Experiments in human volunteers showed that exposure to ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B can weaken the immune system through mechanisms that interact and overlap, increasing vulnerability to cancer as well as to other diseases.11 Also, tanning lamps induce the types of DNA damage to the skin associated with photocarcinogenesis.11 Lastly, the meta-analysis undertaken in 2005 found a significant 75% increase in risk of melanoma (from 40% to 228%) when indoor tanning started during adolescence or young adulthood.11 12 Some evidence was also found that indoor tanning increased the risk of squamous cell carcinoma, especially when sunbed use started before the age of 20.
You can find the whole article here: http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e4757

We hope that this information will help you to make an informed decision on whether tanning is good for you.

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