News Presentation I | A JOUR 3310 Lab Site

TAG | tanning

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website, exposure to ultraviolet rays, either natural or artificial, can cause premature aging, skin cancer, eye damage and immune system suppression.

Dermatologist Michael Lehman, Ph.D., said indoor tanning is even more dangerous than outdoor tanning, because the ultraviolent rays found in tanning beds are more quickly absorbed, causing the skin to tan faster, but also damage faster.

Lehman said indoor tanners are 10 to 12 times as likely of developing skin cancer than non-tanners.

There has been in increase in skin cancer cases, Lehman said, as tanning becomes more socially acceptable and desirable, and young woman are most at risk.

In rebut to claims that indoor tanning provides Vitamin D, Lehman said it also provides damaged skin and an increased chance of developing skin cancer. Lehman said Vitamin D supplements are a much safer alternative than tanning.

On the upside, Lehman said today’s alternatives are safe and create similar results to tanning.

Spray on tans and tanning lotions are safe alternatives, Lehman said, because no ultraviolent rays are being absorbed in to the skin and body.

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Contrary to what you may have heard or read from doctors and health websites, there are some benefits to tanning, according to the Health Guidance website.

The Health Guidance website claims that the benefits of indoor tanning and exposure to ultraviolet rays may actually outweigh the risks, when exposure is limited to short increments of time.

The website states that exposure to UV rays, both natural and tanning booth artificial rays, provide the body and skin with the necessary nutrient of Vitamin D.

According to the article Benefits and Requirements of Vitamin D for Optimal Health: A review, Vitamin D is a necessity for calcium absorption and metabolism, for good bone and weight health, as well as necessary to reduce the chance for multiple cancers, type I diabetes mellitus, and multiple sclerosis.

Kelsey Blackburn, a manager at Planet Beach tanning spa in Lubbock, said she has had customers tan for skin benefits, as Vitamin D has been linked to improving psoriasis, eczema and jaundice.

While the Benefits and Requirements of Vitamin D article admits the vitamin can be supplemented through vitamin pill supplements, the article also points to UV ray exposure as a solution.

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Brown is beautiful.

At least that is what dermatologist Michael Lehman hears from the skin cancer patients he sees every day.

Lehman sees anywhere from 3 to 10 skins cancers in a day at the Lehman Dermatology Clinic, a majority of them that he said are caused from tanning.

“The old adage in skin is, ‘No tan is safe,’” he said. “There’s no such thing as a safe tan.”

The belief that tanning beds are safer than outdoor tanning is a complete myth, he said. In fact, people who use tanning beds are 10 to 12 times more likely to get skin cancer than people who lay out on the beach, Lehman said.

This is because of the different levels of rays found in sunlight and tanning beds, called UVA, UVB and UVC, he said.

UVA and UVB rays are both found in natural sunlight, but UVB tends to cause more superficial damage over a longer period of time, resulting in a sunburn or a tan, Lehman said.

“UVA penetrates much, much deeper into the skin and it gets down into those precancerous cells that really start stimulating cancer,” he said. “Those are primarily in tanning beds.”

While the deeper ray penetration allows for a much quicker, darker tan, it is also more dangerous and carries a higher risk for skin cancers such as basal cell and melanoma, he said.

UV ray chart.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and causes around 8,000 deaths in the US each year, according to the CDC.

Two decades ago, the rate of melanoma was 1 in 200 people, Lehman said. Currently, it is 1 in 50.

“It’s also the number one cause of death in women between 20 and 29,” he said. “Greater than breast cancer, greater than colon cancer, because they keep going. They want that dark tan.”

Tanning in a tanning bed.

Shannon Johnson, a nurse for 27 years at the Joe Arlington Cancer Center, said 10 percent of college students aged from 22 to 27 come in with melanoma or other forms of cancer.

“We do have many college students that do come with dis-colored moles that have signs of becoming cancerous,” she said. “It is hard to treat melanoma because it requires for the infected skin to be removed and it spreads very quickly.”

Lehman said he has seen an alarming amount of 20-year-old girls with melanoma because they have spent their early high school years ‘fake baking’ in tanning beds for proms, dances and other social events.

Kelsey Blackburn, the manager of a local Planet Beach, said a majority of her clients are college students looking for a tan.

However, Planet Beach does offer spray tanning, which Lehman said is completely safe.

The difficulty with skin cancer is that often a person does not see the effects until maybe 20 years after their exposure, Lehman said, which is why he encourages frequent skin exams and the use of sunscreen.

But there is no use in paying big bills out of pocket for high SPF sunscreens, he said.

“They are no more effective than an SPF 15 or 30,” Lehman said. “The key to sunscreens are ingredients. And the number one protective ingredient is zinc oxide. The second most effective sunscreen ingredient is titanium oxide. These are heat repellent, reflective type sunscreen ingredients.”

Simply covering up will not protect you either, especially in a tanning bed, he said.

“That is false because the sun rays, tanning bed rays,” he said, “when they get into the body, they travel. That’s why many people will come in and say, ‘I have a mole on my lower back and I never get any sun on there.’”

Lehman said it is crucial to get any unusual moles or lesions that seem to appear from nowhere checked out at the doctor.

“A skin cancer won’t heal. If that goes for around two months, it definitely needs to be checked, because everything else will heal,” he said. “An unusual mole you’re not used to seeing, that needs to be checked. So, the sooner you get these things taken care of, the better for yourselves.”

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Sidebars:

Benefits of Tanning
Risks of Tanning

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