Tanning bed use is directly related to increased risk of three different types of skin cancer, including melanoma. The risk is higher for younger users.
Among the risky behaviours we fear our teens might engage in, tanning salons may not spring immediately to mind. We might, instead, be thinking of unprotected sex, drinking and driving, or a whole host of nightmare-inducing activities. But the rate at which teens use tanning beds to achieve that coveted bronzed body correlates directly to their increased risk of developing three common types of skin cancer. Recent research by scientists in the department of dermatology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that the higher the use of tanning beds, the higher the risk of developing skin cancer. The researchers studied data from 73,494 nurses in the Nurses’ Health Study II and tracked their tanning bed use during high school and college, then when they were between 25 and 35 years old. They also looked at the overall average tanning bed use during those two periods in relation to basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. They found that more tanning bed use led to higher skin cancer risk. Specifically, the risk for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma increased by 15 percent for every four tanning salon visits. The risk for melanoma increased by 11 percent. Interestingly, the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma was increased at a higher rate with use during high school and college than during ages 25 to 35. If your teen is hankering to hold onto the shades of summer or wants to accessorize her holiday outfits with a deep tan, you might want to share some advice on achieving that golden glow more safely.