Skin cancer is a major problem. Though largely preventable, few individuals take the time to pursue the measures necessary to avoid risky situations. As researchers spend more time looking in to this form of cancer, they are able to better determine which activities are likely to lead to greater chances for the development of skin cancer. While everything from cosmetics to driving can be linked in one way or another, the use of tanning beds has been shown to be one of the activities with the greatest risk of causing skin cancer.
A Causal Link
There is a very real causal link between ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer. The most commonly assumed factor in skin cancer is exposure to the sun, though this is not the only source of UV radiation that an individual might encounter in his or her life. The exposure to UV radiation over time is cumulative, putting the same amount of risk in play for individuals who go out for lengthy excursions on rare occasions, as opposed to those who frequently encounter the radiation in brief. Given this factor, it should come as no surprise that tanning beds have become a major factor in skin cancer.
The Tanning Bed Problem
The reason behind the link has less to do with the kind of light used in tanning beds, and rather more to do with the length of exposure. Those who tan may expose themselves to the harmful rays several times a week, as opposed to those who tan naturally and less often. As such, the potential for skin cancer increases due to time spent, rather than the style of tanning. While perhaps not pleasant news for those who have memberships at tanning salons, this does help to explain the severity of the link between tanning and skin cancer as well as the lower average age of those who develop skin cancer.
Other Tanning Solutions
If exposure to UV rays is one of the major culprits behind skin cancer, it only stands to reason that one must be careful to seek out cosmetic solutions that avoid the rays in the first place. The use of so-called “fake tan” solutions provides a way for individuals to darken their pigmentation without exposure to tanning beds or the sun, though it does not provide as “natural” a look. Instead, one might want to limit his or her exposure when seeking out a natural look, always keeping in mind that sunscreen is a necessity.
Given the real problem of skin cancer and its increasing link to tanning salons, cosmetics do seem to be a safer option than using any source of UV light. While tanning beds used in moderation present no more of a threat than tanning under the sun, it is important that users do not assume that they are taking the safer option. If users understand that the radiation used is still harmful and that length of use can lead to worsening health, it is entirely possible that melanomas can be more easily avoided.