Tanning is a popular way to relax during the summer, but how much do you really know about it? Whether you've tanned before or not, here are some important facts you need to review before you lay out in the sun again.
Tanning, whether you're laying outside in the sun or in a booth at your favorite salon, has a major impact on your risk of developing skin cancer. In fact, multiple types of skin cancer stem directly from sun damaged skin. Melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma have all been linked to UV radiation exposure. Which is exactly what happens when you lay outside in the sun or sit in a tanning booth. Melanoma, in particular, is a dangerous form of skin cancer that can develop as a result of overexposure to UV radiation given off by the sun and UV tanning lights.
While skin cancer is a serious consequence of tanning, it's not the only one. Before you develop early signs of skin cancer, you'll experience sun damage on your skin as a result of tanning. UV radiation, in particular, is responsible for breaking down the protective barriers of your skin and causing damage at a cellular level. Not only does this make your skin susceptible to other irritants, it can make it more difficult for your skin to heal from future sun damage. When in doubt, it's much better for your skin to stay out of the sun or stay as protected as possible with the help of a high SPF sunscreen.
If there's one thing you don't want, it's skin that doesn't look your age at all. But when you invest in tanning booths or lay out in the sun for long periods of time, that's exactly what you're risking. On top of the skin damage we discussed above, UV radiation can cause premature aging on your skin. That means more wrinkles, age spots, and potentially even a leathery skin texture. If you're in your 20s or 30s and still tanning, you're going to experience much faster aging than people in your life who actively take steps to protect themselves from harmful UV radiation.
This is particularly relevant to those who prefer indoor tanning booths. The truth is that artificial UV light simply doesn't provide the kind of vitamin D that comes from the sun. The body needs UVB rays to create vitamin D. With artificial UV lights, you're really only getting UVA rays, which are primarily responsible for the premature aging we talked about above.
Tanning indoors might seem like a safer alternative to laying out in the sun for hours. It's not. In fact, it's not uncommon for people to visit the emergency room for tanning booth-related injuries. Some of the most common reasons people seek medical attention as a result of tanning include loss of consciousness, burns, and even eye injuries.
Tanning is much more harmful than you might think. And now that you know these facts, you might want to think twice before you lay out in the sun again. If you're concerned about your previous tanning habits and want to schedule a skin cancer screening, contact our team at North Pacific Dermatology to set up an appointment today.