For many, the appeal of a deep and even tan is equivalent to purchasing the latest trend in denim for the season. Tanning has become a fashion accessory. It is acceptable for today's society, and many do not even consider the multitude of risks. Tanning has been linked to three types of skin cancer, retina damage, and an increase in infections.
Sunlight and artificial light that is produced in a tanning salon emits three types of radiation. UVA, UVB, and UVC have been known to cause damage. UVB is commonly known as the most dangerous. Many people in the tanning community have been lulled into a false sense of security from the industry's campaign to decrease risks by lowering the intensity of the harsh UVB in the tanning beds. Tanning still poses a danger because UVB is dangerous in small doses also. Additionally, the intensity that was once provided from UVB is now being provided by UVA. It is believed that UVA is also dangerous, but only time will tell with the masses as guinea pigs.
Researchers have discovered that prolonged exposure to the sun can cause the following three types of cancer: basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. Melanoma is the most deadly, but basal cell and squamous cell can also be problematic. Basal cell cancer is usually benign, but has been known to cause scarring. Squamous cell cancer can move throughout the body if it is left untreated.
In addition to acquiring a variety of cancers from tanning, the retinas can become damaged. The cornea can be burned from overexposure to light. Cataracts are another complication of extended exposure to light with blindness as a possible effect of cataracts.
Bacteria and infections are another likelihood of utilizing sun beds in a tanning salon. The most common bacteria that may be encountered is staphylococcus, which is more commonly referred to as staph. There are more than 30 known species in this particular family of bacteria. Staph is responsible for causing a variety of illnesses. The bacteria can live harmlessly on many surfaces, including the skin. It is when the skin is punctured or wounded that the bacteria enters the body and causes infection. Sun beds can be a way to spread this bacteria from person to person if not properly sanitized.
Prolonged exposure to sunlight or artificial light can have many health risks. Tanning can be compared to smoking. Both are dangerous. The difference is that society has not taken a strong stance against tanning like the stance against smoking. Society will continue to engage in this health risk until they are properly educated. Premature aging is the least of a chronic sun worshippers concerns. Living to enjoy skin that has been prematurely wrinkled by the sun should be the main concern. There is something to be said for healthy pale skin that may be enjoyed well into the golden years.