You may want to skip that sunbed after swimming, according to a new study. Sunbeds which are used in indoor tanning emit harmful UV radiation to produce a cosmetic tan. They are typically found in tanning salons, spas, gyms and sporting facilities.
Using sunbeds may put people at a higher risk of melanoma – the most dangerous type of skin cancer. In the last decade, melanoma has the strongest increase in incidence and the incidence rates have in fact never been as high as in 2014.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) based International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified UV-emitting tanning devices as “carcinogenic to humans” in 2009. However, sunbed use is still popular among young women in Western countries.
The study conducted by University of Oslo followed 141,000 Norwegian women for the average of 14 years. Women who had 30 or more indoor tanning sessions were at 32 per cent increased risk of melanoma in comparison to never-users. In addition, women who started indoor tanning before age 30 were on average two years younger at melanoma diagnosis than never-users.
These associations remained significant after controlling for age, birth-cohort, ambient ultra-violet (UV) radiation of residence, hair colour, skin colour and cumulative number of sunburns and sunbathing vacations. Modern sunbeds emit six times more UVA and twice as much UVB as the Oslo summer sun, researchers said.
The findings of this study have important implications for public health, as it shows that sunbed use increases the burden of melanoma in societies by both increasing the number of patients and decreasing the age at diagnosis.