The Associated Risks Of Skin Cancer From Tanning

Cancer is harmful to healthy skin in a number of ways: it causes premature aging, wrinkles and unattractive sun spots. You can develop skin cancer from tanning as a result of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

How Tanning and Skin Cancer Are Related

The UVA, UVB and UVC rays produced by natural sunlight are known carcinogens. UVC rays are filtered out by the atmosphere, but UVA and UVB rays can damage the skin and promote the cellular mutation of DNA which can result in the development of skin cancer.
Commercial tanning beds produce the same UVA and UVB rays as natural sunlight, but they’re even more concentrated while generally focused directly on your skin. Direct and prolonged exposure to these UV rays can significantly improve your chances for developing skin cancer.

Types of Skin Cancer Caused By Tanning

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and it can develop from exposure to UV radiation. It can be caused as a result of blistering sunburns, or by cumulative exposure. It’s easy to cure when recognized early, while if left to develop, it can quickly become life threatening.
Carcinomas, such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are other types of skin cancers that can be obtained from too much UV exposure. Like melanomas, they can be treated successfully if detected in the early stages of the disease. If undetected or untreated, it can spread to other areas of the body.
Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the Unites States, and it’s one of the most avoidable. Practice responsible tanning to reduce your risk.

Using Sunscreen to Reduce the Risk of Skin Cancer

Wearing sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher can greatly reduce your chances of developing sunburns and other serious skin conditions. For sunscreen to be effective against skin cancers, it needs to be approved for both UVA and UVB protection. Be sure to read labels, as many commercial sunscreens are only marked to guard against burns caused by UVB rays.
Wearing sunscreen that includes UVA and UVB protection is essential to reducing your chances of developing skin cancer. Approximately 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancer and 65 percent of melanoma cancer has been attributed to UV radiation from sunlight (Skin Cancer Foundation, 2011).
Skin cancer is a scary prospect, but if you enjoy soaking up the sunlight you can still do so if you take the right precautions. Don’t let your fears derail you from the ways that proper tanning can improve your skin.