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Tanning Beds And Skin Cancer Essay

3578 words - 15 pages

Tanning Beds and Skin Cancer

What is UV radiation?

Before one can discuss harmful effects of tanning equipment and increased sun exposure, one must be familiar with the components of ultraviolet light and how affects the skin. Sunlight contains two types of ultraviolet (UV) light: UVA and UVB. UVA rays consist of longer wavelengths that penetrate deep into the dermal layer of skin. Limited exposure to UVA rays causes skin to tan; however, most experts agree that overexposure to UVA can lead to other long-term skin damage. UVB rays’ wavelengths are much shorter, affecting the outermost layers of skin. UVB rays are known as the "burning rays" and are considered more dangerous. Tanning ...view middle of the document...

Tanning beds, therefore, have the power to control exposure time and the ratio of UVA to UVB rays for a "perfect balance" (http://www.shop.net/suncity/). Since tanning beds filter out most of the burning UVB rays, chances of getting burned decrease dramatically (http://www.darquetan.com/faq.htm). Therefore, the companies can claim that the tanning beds cannot be any more harmful than the sun.

Tanning salons also state that some UV radiation is needed for the manufacturing of vitamin D. Vitamin D certifies that a constant level of calcium remains in the blood and controls its absorption. In an advertisement for tanning equipment, one tanning bed company, The Beach House Tanning, claims that the sun is the only source of Vitamin D (http://www.beachouse.com/tanning_benefits.htm). However, vitamin D is also found in foods such as dairy products, cereal, and fish (http://shrike.depaul.edu/~vbard/vitdpg.html), and it takes far less UV radiation to obtain the necessary amount of vitamin D than it does to get a suntan (http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/tanning.html).

In addition, tanning industries claim that UVA radiation has no harmful effects on the skin. They say that only UVB radiation can harm the outermost layer of the skin. Since UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, then they say that tanning beds cannot cause any type of premature aging, burn the skin, or thicken the skin, revealing a leathery type appearance (http://www.cybermall2000.com/stores/tanning/index.html).

In fact, The Beach House Tanning states that it isn’t safe not to tan. They report that avoiding the sun highly increases the risks for many cancers including skin cancer and that most studies prove that people who are not exposed to the sun on a regular basis have a greater chance of acquiring some forms of cancer. One study that was conducted showed that malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is actually more common in people who do not receive regular sun exposure and develops on areas that are not usually exposed to the sun. Also, some sun exposure abates or retards the development of breast, colon, prostate, and ovarian cancers (http://www.beachouse.com/tanning_benefits.htm). Actually, many studies have shown that heredity and repeated sunburn, which are not caused by tanning beds, are the most prominent factors for skin cancer. Since tanning is, "your body’s natural defense against sunburn," as stated by Beach House (http://www.beachouse.com/tanning_facts.htm), and since, "tanning beds are a responsible way to get a base tan," as claimed by Raley’s Eurotan (http://beacon-www.asa.utk.edu/issues/v71/n38/tan.38n.html), then it is safe to say that tanning beds are a reliable source of UV exposure.

What are the harmful effects of tanning beds?

Nearly every single article that was researched concluded that indoor tanning is directly linked to skin cancer, specifically malignant melanoma, and other numerous health problems. Although tanning...

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