Tanning beds are a hot spot for cancer, other negative side-effects


By Rebecca Ball, Editor-in-Chief

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, over 9,500 people in The United States are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, with 90 percent of those cases caused by radiation from the sun and or indoor tanning.

Although, tanning has been deemed to be harmful, the beginning usage of the tanning bed was always said to be healthier than getting a tan from the actual sun.

According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, tanning was said to be the safer route to get that sun-kissed glow everyone wanted.

With the sun, there was a more “visible” burn or effect. In contrast, tanning beds appeared to be harmless on the outside. What these people of the 1920’s didn’t know was that the damage tanning beds created were long term and damaged both the inside and outside of the body.

The truth was later discovered in the 1970s that tanning beds are actually the main cause behind most skin cancer. The UV rays from tanning beds do not just produce a nice glow, they also cause wrinkles, rashes and dark spots.

Tanning is particularly more dangerous for the young. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), states that people who begin tanning during early adulthood have a higher risk of melanoma, which happens to be the deadliest type of skin cancer.

This information still doesn’t stop people from using tanning beds. Many actors, actresses and models condone the use of tanning. These Hollywood elites are who the younger generation look up to, so when they see their role models tanning, what’s to stop them from doing the same thing?

Other countries such as Brazil and Australia have banned the commercialized use of tanning beds all together. Along with that, 16 states in the US have also banned the use of indoor tanning, but only for minors under the age of 18. Parents in these states have even been charged with child endangerment for allowing their children to use tanning beds.

“Dr. Mom”  or Dr. Melissa King, a blogger at Dayton Children’s Medical Center, has said that the UV radiation from tanning beds is 10 to 15 times stronger and more intense then the sun itself.

“There’s no safe exposure in a tanning bed or tanning salon,” she said.

King has even found through studies that indoor tanning can cause premature blindness and cataracts.

“Unfortunately, we’re in a time when rates of skin cancer, including melanoma, are on the rise,” she said, “and we know there’s no such thing as a healthy tan.”

Ohio is not among the states who have banned minors from tanning. However, Ohio law states that if a patron is under 18 years of age, tanning facilities must receive the written consent from the parent or legal guardian of the patron before a tanning session may occur.

The reasoning behind this law is to not only protect the tanning facilities from being sued or shut down, but it is also a preventive measure to make parents and minors think twice before stepping into a tanning bed.

“It’s a lifelong risk,” King said. “So there’s a need to limit exposure at all stages.”

Skin Cancer survivor  and local Kettering Resident, Sierra Roe, said that her cancer was caused by her active tanning habits for acting and dancing.

“I was always told tanning was okay. When I did pageants and dance competitions you weren’t prepared unless you went tanning.”

Many children and young adults who partake in activities where appearance is important have been exposed to the impacts of indoor tanning.

“At the time, is seemed like something fun to do with my friends, but looking back on it now I wish I never stepped foot in a tanning bed,” Roe said.

Roe had to have three places of skin removed from her right shoulder. Luckily for her, she was diagnosed with a non-fatal form of basal cell carcinoma, which is one of the most common forms of skin cancer in The United States.

The main cause behind this type of cancer … tanning beds.

Roe hopes that as studies continue and awareness spreads, the use of tanning beds will start to deplete.

“My advice to teenagers is simple, don’t tan. The reward of tanning is not worth the risk. Trust me, I know.”