A 10% tan tax took effect last week on the use of indoor ultraviolet tanning bed. I can understand that owners of tanning salons are apparently seeing red over the tax. That said, one of the worst skin cancers I’ve seen was a tennis ball size basal cell carcinoma on the chest of a very young women who was a indoor tanning devotee.

Let’s look at some data:
1. About 28 million people tan in the US each year, with about 10% of these being teens. (1,2)
2. The United States Department of Health and Human Services and the International Agency of Research on Cancer panel has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).(3)
3. A review of seven studies found a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who had been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning before the age of 35.(4)
4. Multiple studies have demonstrated that UV radiation during indoor tanning damages DNA and can lead to premature skin aging, immune suppression, and eye damage, including cataracts and ocular melanoma.(5-8)
5. A recent study suggested that in general melanoma risk from indoor tanning increased with amount of use.

Personally I don’t really like tanned looking skin. I know skin is tan as a way to protect itself from further injury. So, if you must tan I think a safer choice is a spray tan.

If you’d like more information on sun protection or skin care contact the Austin cosmetic dermatologist and staff of Zimmet Vein & Dermatology today by calling 512-485-7700.

References
1. Kwon HT, Mayer JA, Walker KK, Yu H, Lewis EC, Belch GE. Promotion of frequent tanning sessions by indoor tanning facilities: two studies. J Am Acad Dermatol 2002;46:700-5.
2 Dellavalle RP, Parker ER, Ceronsky N, Hester EJ, Hemme B, Burkhardt DL, et al. Youth access laws: in the dark at the tanning parlor? Arch Dermatol 2003;139:443-8.
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program. Report on carcinogens, 11th ed: Exposure to sunlamps or sunbeds.
4. The International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group on artificial ultraviolet (UV) light and skin cancer “The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: A systematic review.” International Journal of Cancer. 2007 March 1;120:111-1122.
5. Piepkorn M. Melanoma genetics: an update with focus on the CDKN2A(p16)/ARF tumor suppressors. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000 May;42(5 Pt 1):705-22; quiz 723-6.
6. Vajdic CM, Kricker A, Giblin M, McKenzie J, Aitken JF, Giles GG, Armstrong BK. Artificial ultraviolet radiation and ocular melanoma in Australia. Int J Cancer. 2004 Dec 10;112(5):896-900.
7. Walters BL, Kelly TM. Commercial tanning facilities:a new source of eye injury. Am J Emerg Med 1987;120:767-77.
8. Clingen PH, Berneburg M, Petit-Frere C, Woollons A, Lowe JE, Arlett CF, Green MH. Contrasting effects of an ultraviolet B and an ultraviolet A tanning lamp on interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor-alpha and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression. Br J Dermatol. 2001 Jul;145(1):54-62.