Reconsider indoor tanning

The whole point of being indoors is to get out of the elements, so it is a little strange that we bring miniature suns inside, take off most or all of our clothing, and irradiate ourselves on purpose. But we (well, some, not all of us) do and the result seems to be an increased risk of disease. This just out:


blockquote>Indoor tanning and non-melanoma skin cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis
Results 12 studies with 9328 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer were included. Among people who reported ever using indoor tanning compared with those who never used indoor tanning, the summary relative risk for squamous cell carcinoma was 1.67 (95% confidence interval 1.29 to 2.17) and that for basal cell carcinoma was 1.29 (1.08 to 1.53). No significant heterogeneity existed between studies. The population attributable risk fraction for the United States was estimated to be 8.2% for squamous cell carcinoma and 3.7% for basal cell carcinoma. This corresponds to more than 170?000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer each year attributable to indoor tanning. On the basis of data from three studies, use of indoor tanning before age 25 was more strongly associated with both squamous cell carcinoma (relative risk 2.02, 0.70 to 5.86) and basal cell carcinoma (1.40, 1.29 to 1.52).

Conclusions Indoor tanning is associated with a significantly increased risk of both basal and squamous cell skin cancer. The risk is higher with use in early life (<25 years). This modifiable risk factor may account for hundreds of thousands of cases of non-melanoma skin cancer each year in the United States alone and many more worldwide. These findings contribute to the growing body of evidence on the harms of indoor tanning and support public health campaigns and regulation to reduce exposure to this carcinogen.


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4 thoughts on “Reconsider indoor tanning

  1. People will not not stop tanning because of relative risk factors. This is a situation where the benefits are immediate and the absolute risks are still small, even though the relative risk is raised. To change their behavior, they will need to be punished in some way. What would you suggest?

  2. A dermatologist once told me that if you want to see what the sun does to your skin, take a look at a 90 year old’s but.

  3. I don’t get it, the butt is where the sun doesn’t shine. Is the point to compare their butt to other parts of the body? **shudders**

    Anyway, I’m astounded these kinds of studies are even necessary. There is corporate denialism propagated by the tanning industry that claims that indoor tanning is somehow different, but this of course makes no physical sense. It’s the radiation stupid. It doesn’t matter whether it’s from the sun or a light bulb, if it’s strong enough to cause free radical formation and pyrimidine bonds (or even ionize at the lower wavelengths of UV), it’s going to cause DNA damage.

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