Dermatology PA-C, Jessica Mangiaracina, shares the facts about tanning beds and the increased risk of skin cancer that comes with using them. And despite what you’ve heard, tanning beds are not as safe as you think!
I’m a dermatology practitioner and I used to use tanning beds. Emphasis on used to.
Despite the irony, being a dermatology Physician Assistant that diagnoses skin cancers on a daily basis and briefly being a tanning bed user while in college, I feel the need to educate my patients with evidence-based medicine about the risk of skin cancer from tanning beds.
How Does Your Skin Tan?
Believe it or not, tanning is actually an injury to your skin. The darker color of your skin is actually the result of your skin trying to protect itself from UV rays. Whether you lay in the sun or a tanning bed, the tanning process is the same.(P.S.- There’s no such thing as a safe tan!)
What is Melanoma?
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It arises from the melanocytes (pigment cells) in your skin, again mostly caused by sun exposure. The UV rays target the melanocytes and cause mutations in the cells. Those mutations cause the cells to form very quickly, producing malignant tumors.
Tanning Beds and Melanoma
The Incidence of Melanoma is Increasing
A study of 434 melanoma patients found patients who have had primary melanomas with previous tanning bed exposure had a second melanoma diagnosed within a year. “67% of patients exposed to arUVR through tanning beds had their second primary diagnosed at the time of or within 1 year of their original diagnosis compared with 28% of nontanners (P = .011). Median time to diagnosis of second primary melanoma in patients exposed to arUVR versus those not exposed was 225 days versus 3.5 years, respectively”
Referenced From Medical Journal Article- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2018.06.067
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