Tanning Your Skin, Taxing Your Health

You might want to think twice before hitting the tanning bed to get that “healthy glow.”

Evidence has shown that the use of tanning salons has been linked to increased risks of skin cancer and long-term skin damage. Scientists have studied the effects of UV exposure and have linked the use of tanning beds to as many as 400,000 cases of skin cancer every year in the U.S. Additionally, they have found that more time spent in a tanning salon correlates with the higher risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and other types of skin cancers. In fact, some evidence has shown that using beds before the age of 30 increases the risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent.

“Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women from 25 to 30 years old, and the second leading cause in women from 30 to 35 years old,” said Kasia Masterpol, MD, a dermatologist at Winchester Hospital. “UV rays from tanning beds emit up to 15 times more radiation than the sun. These rays penetrate skin layers down to the cellular levels, causing abnormal cells to grow and the development of melanoma.”

While there is no such thing as a safe tan, there are alternative, cheaper ways to get a healthy glow without going to the tanning salon. Experts recommend five to 10 minutes of sun exposure a few times a week to give you the health benefits you need. You can also apply self-tanning products, which are designed to make your skin look tanned without UV radiation exposure, but remember to also use sunscreen with SPF 30 to protect your skin.

For more tips on how to get a healthy glow without hitting the tanning bed, speak with your Lahey Health physician.

*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please consult a physician regarding your specific medical condition, diagnosis and/or treatment.

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