Tanning And Cancer

If one were living in any of the colder regions of the world, the tell tale signs of having enjoyed a good vacation would be to wear a tan, acquired from hours of lazing in the sun, on some beach. Better still, is the idea of wearing a tan regularly by resorting to tanning under a tanning bed, under artificial conditions. While the latter form of tanning may look very authentic and satisfactory, it is a process of tanning that is fraught with the risk of cancer.

Thus, the debate on tanning and the risks of cancer has been raging as a debatable issue with strong contenders on both sides. Several studies have shown that tanning under a tanning bed can increase the risk of getting cancer. On the other hand studies have shown that tanning has helped reduce the risks of cancer by its controlled system that reduces the risk of sunburn.


The UV rays that tanning under lights creates stimulates the skin cells. The activated and stimulated skin cells produce more melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin its natural color. Thus a tanning bed activates this principle under controlled conditions and the fashion industry has promoted this method, making it highly popular among Scandinavian women. That is why the effects of tanning and the risk of cancer have been extensively carried out among this category of women. The results have shown that among the women who regularly resorted to tanning, the risk of developing cancer had increased to 55%. In the same way a similar study carried out at Dartmouth concluded that the regular user of the tanning method was two and half times more likely to develop cancer.

The above studies as well as findings from independent sources had led the American Medical Association (AMA) to adopt a resolution calling for a total ban on tanning under light, so as to prevent the incidence of cancer from this source. But the US Federal Trade Commission (USFTC) was no twilling to go with them on this resolution and declined to institute such a ban. The contention of the USFTC was that the use and sale of tanning equipment for cosmetic purposes could be permitted as it had certain healthy benefits accruing from its use.

Supporting the argument put forth by the Federal Trade Commission lobby another organization, namely the Tanning Trends, contended that tanning on a tanning bed actually reduced the risk f developing skin cancer. Their argument was based on the fact that as the conditions of tanning were being done in a controlled environment the tanning process was completely regulated and there was no risk of getting sunburn in the process. In a natural condition, as on a beach the holiday maker for instance, had no control over the tanning process and if the sun was hot then there were chances of getting too much sunburn, in the bargain. Such exposure to sunburn ran the risk of getting cancer even more. Thus by getting a tanning done on a tanning bed, the cancer could actually be prevented altogether.