The Dangers to Tanning
The summer is coming up and everyone wants an easy fix for their pale, winter skin. Tanning salons seem so convenient and almost harmless. Every year more than one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States. Despite this fact, hundreds of thousands of people routinely visit tanning salons. Tanning is a basic beauty essential in many people’s life’s, but is your tan worth your health? Over time, the effects of too much UVA exposure can lead to eye damage, immune system changes, cataracts, wrinkles and premature aging of the skin, and skin cancers. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and approximately 90% of all skin cancers can be traced to UV exposure. Tanning beds and sun lamps generally emit 93% to 99% UVA radiation increasing the benefits of a tan. This is three times the UVA radiation given off by the sun. Long-term effects of UVA rays include premature aging and wrinkles. Scientists agree that UVA rays are less likely to cause burns, but that they are still linked to malignant melanoma, damage to the immune system, weakening of the skin’s inner tissue, and other types of skin cancers. Many people aren’t aware of how high the risks are for getting skin cancer and that some people may be at a higher risk than others. If you have blonde, red, or light brown hair, fair skin, burn before you tan, burn easy, or have blue, green, or gray eyes, you are at a greater risk to get skin cancer. This is because you have a smaller amount of melanin (a substance that screens out some of the damaging radiation and thus protects the molecular structure of your skin). “The irony is that in an effort to look tan, these people might be compromising their vision,” says Dr. Friedman, President of the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians. The effects of tanning beds to your eyes could also be severe. Normally, eyebrows shield the eyes from direct sunlight. The human eyelid is too thin to guard the eyes from......
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