More Scientific Evidence Linking Tanning Bed Use with Melanoma

Merely Me Health Guide
  • My Skin Care Connection has been telling you all along about the dangers of using tanning beds. It may be difficult to know what to believe since the tanning bed industry is keen upon protecting its financial interests and routinely creates public diversions to sway the public to thinking that indoor tanning is safe.


    One such myth being perpetuated by the indoor tanning industry is that we need to use their services so that we can get our Vitamin D intake. This conclusion is completely false as we can get our Vitamin D requirements from our diet as well as nutritional supplements. I wrote about my experience as a patient in my post, Confused about Vitamin D and Sun Exposure: A Patient’s Dilemma.  We also pulled the plug on suggestions that we need tanning beds to acquire our Vitamin D with articles such as Tanning Salons and Vitamin D hype

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    In addition to dispelling some of these myths created by the tanning bed industry, we have also told you about the numerous research studies showing that the use of tanning beds greatly increases your risk of developing a deadly melanoma. For example, in a skin care prevention post, I wrote about how the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cites research which shows you are increasing your risk for melanoma by 75% if you are using tanning beds before the age of thirty. This may explain why melanoma rates are on the rise and especially for young women, the population of people who most frequently use indoor tanning salons.


    There is now additional evidence that the risk of developing melanoma rises with the frequency of tanning bed use, regardless of age, gender or indoor tanning bed device. A research study from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and Masonic Cancer Center using 2,268 subjects is the largest of its kind.  This study was published in May and can be found in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.


    Here are some of the findings of this new study:


    • Tanning bed users are 74% more likely to develop melanoma than people who never use tanning beds.


    • The risk for developing melanoma was approximately 3 times greater for users of UVB-enhanced tanning devices and 4.4 times greater for those who used tanning beds using UVA rays.


    • Individuals who were considered “frequent users” of tanning beds were found to be 2.5 to 3 times more likely to develop melanoma than participants who had never engaged in indoor tanning. Frequent users were defined as people who used indoor tanning devices for 50 or more hours, had more than 100 sessions, or had used tanning beds for ten or more years.


    The lead researcher of this study, DeAnn Lazovich, an associate professor at the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota, found the risk of melanoma may be particularly dangerous for young women who comprise the population most likely to use tanning beds. For years now the news reports have shown an alarming increase in the numbers of young women who are developing melanoma such as this Washington Post article which shows the rate of new melanoma cases of younger women had increased by 50 percent since 1980. Some say that the reason for this spike has to do with the greater use of tanning beds.


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    Most skin cancer experts would agree that no tan is a safe tan whether it is from the sun or a tanning bed. Tanning is evidence that your skin has been damaged. This damage accumulates and greatly increases your risk for skin cancer not to mention the premature aging of your skin. Know your risks before you tan. Is your health worth it? There are other safer alternatives such as using a spray tan or sunless tan lotions. Think about it.


    For more information about the risks and dangers of tanning beds please read the following articles:


    That Tanning Bed Moment Can Turn Into an Eye-Opening Burn

    The Dangers of Tanning Beds: Five Fast Facts


    Want to Prevent Skin Cancer? Stop Doing These Three Things 

Published On: October 31, 2010