Do the Benefits of Tanning Outweigh the Risks?

Topics: Ultraviolet, Sun tanning, Sunscreen Pages: 7 (2196 words) Published: August 26, 2009
Do the Benefits of Tanning Outweigh the Risks?

Amber Williams

University of Phoenix, Axia College

26 year-old Clare Oliver spent her last living days warning the population about the dangers of tanning beds. The young woman started using tanning beds in her teens and was diagnosed with skin cancer when she was 22 years old (Ross, 2008). Reports come out every year with an increased amount of people who are affected by Ultra Violet radiation exposure. With so many studies about the connection to tanning beds and cancer; the risks of premature aging and skin cancer risks do not scare the young population. Tanning beds, along with their potential risks, also offer some health benefits. Even though tanning can help some skin and health problems, tanning beds can be linked to some skin cancers, damages to the skin, burning and premature aging of the skin from the deep penetrating Ultra Violet Rays found in tanning beds. The Effects of Ultra Violet Light

Ultra Violet radiation is energy from the sun. The visible light that reaches the earth are classified as infrared and Ultra Violet. As Ultra Violet Radiation reaches the earth’s atmosphere it is filtered by other elements of the earth. The Ultra Violet Light will not harm people but does pose a threat to those who have prolonged exposure to Ultra Violet Light. While a small amount of sun exposure is pleasurable and healthy, overexposure can be dangerous (Ferniany, 2008). A common misconception among the public is that if they can not see visible damage to the skin than no damage has been done. The danger is not the sun light, it is the type of Ultra Violet Radiation (UV) light found in Artificial Tanning that causes the real damage. The Ultra Violet Rays used in tanning beds are concentrated radiation and penetrate deep into the skin; more so than natural sunlight (Upton, 2002). Although ultraviolet rays do have a purpose, according to the Indoor Tanning Association indoor tanning is an efficient way to help our bodies manufacture the Vitamin D it needs. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and plays an important role in our health. Vitamin D is a precursor hormone-the building block of a powerful steroid hormone in the body (Pick, 2009). Vitamin D aids in normal cell growth and maintains hormone balance for a healthy immune system. The body will not create Vitamin D on its own, but adequate sun exposure can give the body an ample supply.

Ultra Violet Rays used in tanning beds create high risk factors for skin cancer. Ultra Violet Rays originate from the sun, but can also be produced by sunlamps and tanning beds. The National Cancer Institute (2009) stated, “A person’s risk of skin cancer is related to a lifetime exposure of U.V radiation, but the sun damages the skin from an early age.” Tanning bed use creates a high risk factor for the development of skin cancer for the frequent user. The Ultraviolet Rays causes damage to skin tissue molecules. The concentrated combination of too much energy and heat in the infrared rays are detrimental to living tissue and cells. The Ultra Violet Rays will cause cell damage and deformities by mutating the cells genetic code. The Ultra Violet Rays can suppresses the immune functions of skin tissue and allow cancer cells in the skin to flourish (Kelly, 2006). Types of Skin Cancer Linked to Ultra Violet Rays

The most common forms of skin cancer that develop when cells in the epidermis become mutated from Ultra Violet Radiation are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. Individuals with fair complexions are more susceptible to this type of skin cancer. These two types of skin cancer are highly treatable when detected early. Malignant melanoma is the rarest form of skin cancer. Melanoma starts forming in the cells found in the basal layer of the epidermis that produces the skin pigment (Upton, 2002). The pictures...

References: Ferniany, W. (2008). UAB Medicine [Causes of Skin Cancer]. Retrieved August 3, 2009, from
Indoor Tanning (2008, January 18)
Kelly, A. (2006). Stay Safe in the Sun. Natural Health, 36(6), 47-51. Retrieved August 5, 2009, from EBSCO Host. Apollo Library database.
Tanning Bed Usage Rises Significantly, Despite Warnings (2008). Medical News Today, Retrieved August 4, 2009, from database.
Upton, A. C. "Ultraviolet Radiation." Encyclopedia of Public Health. 4 1237-1238. Retrieved August 08, 2009 from Gale. Apollo Library database.
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