The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a final order that requires reclassifying sunlamp products and UV lamps as moderate-risk (class II) devices. These devices will now have to carry a black-box warning – the FDA’s strongest – that states the product should not be used by anybody under 18 years of age. This is an important step by the FDA for raising awareness of the dangers of tanning under UV lamps, which has become a popular trend for young women in the United States. Those who are younger than 18 are at the highest risk of developing skin cancer, and many teenage girls start using tanning beds as young as 13 years old. As the FDA continues to push for stricter regulations on tanning beds with this black box warning, we hope to see the number of people affected by melanoma and other skin cancers greatly decline.

Why Are Sunlamps So Dangerous?

Tanning beds are designed to emit powerful UV rays for very brief periods of time and these rays can be more intense than the afternoon sun. The UVA rays stimulate melanocytes, which are responsible for producing pigment in the skin. However, UVA rays also go deep into the dermis and can be powerful enough to reach your nerves and blood vessels. Extensive damage of the dermis can cause premature aging, which means you could develop wrinkles and lines as your skin starts to break down. You may be able to reverse some of the effects of sun damage with non-surgical facial treatments.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and the Skin Cancer Foundation reports that the risk of melanoma increases by 74 percent in those who tan indoors. If you are using tanning beds regularly, you are at a much higher risk of developing melanoma and other skin problems throughout your lifetime.

Healthy Alternatives to Sunlamps

Hitting the tanning bed regularly or simply laying out in the sun can give you a beautiful tan within minutes, but these habits can also wreak havoc on your skin. We encourage all patients to protect themselves from skin cancer by avoiding sun exposure and by applying sunscreen regularly throughout the day. Exposing your skin to UV rays with a sunlamp or spending time outdoors can increase your risk of skin cancer and also cause irreversible skin damage. If you want to ward off wrinkles and maintain healthy skin for life, make sure you’re aware of all the dangers of tanning beds.

If you want to maintain a sun-kissed look year round, protect your skin by using bronzers and self-tanning products instead of the tanning booth. There are several things you can do to achieve that sun-kissed look without damaging your skin and you don’t have to pay that monthly membership fee at the tanning salon. You can use bronzing powders and bronzing lotion on the face and neck to warm up your look. Consider using self-tanning lotions and bronzing creams on the rest of the body, or getting a spray tan for special occasions.

For more skin cancer prevention tips or to set up a skin cancer screening appointment, contact NW Face & Body today!