UVA and UVB are the two types of ultraviolet radiation that reaches to skin which the sun rays consist. From these ultra violet radiations (UV) B radiation burns the upper layers of skin (the epidermis) and so causing sunburns. What makes people tan is UVA radiation, which penetrates in to the lower layers of the skin and triggers the cells melanocytes to produce melanin. The brown pigment, melanin causes the tanning to the skin. Melanin protects the skin from burning. The people who have dark skin tan more deeply than lighter-skinned people as their melanocytes produce more melanin.
A tan may be fashionable but it is also observable evidence that skin has a cellular damage. After a continuous exposure to the sun and UV radiation, some side effects like wrinkles, brown age sots, blotchiness, leathering and older looking skin may take place. Mostly, 80% American people under age 25 think that they look better with a tan.
A tanning bed is a device which emits ultraviolet radiation (typically 95% UVA and 5% UVB, +/-3%) used to produce a cosmetic tan. In the tanning beds, several fluorescent lamps having phosphor blends are used to emit UV in a spectrum that is somewhat similar to the sun. Usually, the small tanning beds for home have 12 to 28 100 watt lamps while systems found in salons can run from 24 to 60 lamps, each consuming 100 to 200 watts. High pressure tanning beds are also used. The World Health Organization does not recommend the use of UV tanning devices because of adverse effects of its on human health mostly skin after overexposure to UV radiation. The adverse effects of tanning beds include skin cancer, cataracts, suppression of the immune system, and premature skin aging.
Tanning beds and skin cancer:
With tanning properties, UVA rays of tanning beds can also cause serious damage to skin because they penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB rays. Through the skin's protective epidermis to the dermis, UVA rays can go all the way, where blood vessels and nerves are found and due to this reason UVA rays may damage a person's immune system. It may make the immune system harder to fight against diseases and so leading to illnesses like melanoma, the most serious (and deadly) type of skin cancer. It can quickly spread from the skin to the body's other organs if it is not found and treated. Melanoma can also kill the person.
In the United States, Skin cancer is epidemic with more than 1 million new cases diagnosed annually. Melanoma was seen in patients of fifties or older in past, but recently dermatologists find patients in their twenties and even late teens with this type of cancer(melanoma). According to skin specialists, the risk of skin cancer may raise with the use of tanning beds and sun lamps as they have high levels of UVA rays. A risk of melanoma is eight times higher in younger people who regularly use tanning beds than people who never used tanning beds. The younger people who occasional use tanning beds have tripled the chances of developing melanoma.
Martin A. Weinstock, MD, professor of dermatology at Brown University and chair of the American Cancer Society's (ACS) skin cancer advisory board said, "This is more information in support of the conclusion that tanning lights cause skin cancer.”
The studies of Swedish researchers have shown that the tanning bed use of 571 people who had developed malignant melanoma in compared to the use of 913 healthy people (controls) who did not have melanoma.
Risks from the tanning beds:
- Mutate DNA
- Skin cancer, Melanoma
- Arc eye
- Make skin age and wrinkle faster
- Reduce the immune system
Due to the different intensity of the Sun and spectrum of the artificial light, there is no proof that these side effects are worse from tanning in a tanning bed or sunbed than from the Sun.
Official Warning issued by WHO for tanning beds:
To the list of the most dangerous forms of cancer-causing radiation, the ultraviolet (UV) radiation-emitting tanning devices — tanning beds and lamps are added by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a working group of the World Health Organization. Tanning beds and lamps join an assembly of hazardous substances with the inclusion of plutonium and certain types of radium, as well as radiation from the sun. The IARC report stated that tanning is especially hazardous to young people having the age less than 30 and use sunbeds. They have lifetime risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent.
FDA Debates Tougher Cancer Warning on Tanning Beds:
Due to the many of people suffering from skin cancer by the use of tanning beds, the Food and Drug Administration will be debating how to toughen warnings that those sunlamps pose a cancer risk. Katie Donnar, 18, dismissed until a year ago when, preparing for the Miss Indiana pageant, she discovered a growth on her leg _ an early-stage melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
FDA Panel Weighs New Restrictions on Tanning Beds:
As an agency panel debates new restrictions on the tanning devices which some health experts say contribute to cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration calls to tighten up on tanning bed use. Dr. Allan Halpern, vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation said, "We are hoping the FDA will reclassify tanning beds".
Recently, tanning beds are classified in to class I medical devices, "which means these cancer-causing machines are in the same category as tongue depressors and elastic bandages and subject to few regulations and little oversight." Halpern said, "UV light is a known cause of cancer. That's recognized by the U.S. government, by the World Health Organization (WHO). And what tanning beds do is deliver UV light."
Report coauthor Beatrice Secretan, from the Cancer Monograph Working Group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France said, "The use of tanning beds can be deleterious to your health and we hope to encourage governments to formulate restrictions and regulations for the use of tanning beds."
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