In recent years, warnings against skin tanning using tanning beds have increased, and in 2014, the Ministry of Health determined that using these beds undoubtedly causes cancer.
Now that winter season has arrived, and despite the warning, many return to the tanning salons due to the fewer sunlight hours per day.
A new study published lately and presented by the Israel Cancer Association’s Information Center supports this concern: In the study, published in October 2019 in JAMA Dermatology magazine, researchers from universities in Norway, England and Australia examined the connection between using tanning beds and the second most prevalent type of skin cancer – Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC).
For the purpose of the study, the researchers monitored 159,419 healthy Norwegian women with an age average of 49.9, who were recruited for the study in 1991 for a period of about 16.5 years.
As part of the study, the women filled out questionnaires every 5-7 years, in which they were asked about the manner of using the tanning beds (frequency, duration and start of usage age), about vacations in sunny destinations and physical characteristics (eye and skin color, tendency for freckles and sunburns), education level, etc.
During the follow up, 597 SCC type skin cancer cases were detected with an average diagnosis age of 66.4. Based on this data, the researchers created a model for predicting the development of skin cancer, and proposed five variables for exposure to tanning beds:
The data analysis yielded the following conclusions:
To sum up, the research findings display a usage-based connection between using tanning beds and the risk of developing SCC type skin cancer. The researchers note that the risk of accumulated exposure to tanning beds is not influenced by the duration of use (in years) or the starting age of using them.
According to Dana frost, the Israel Cancer Association's Health Promotion Specialist: “This is further evidence which proves that using tanning beds and tanning booths is dangerous, as well as uncontrolled exposure to sunlight. Overexposure to UV rays emitted from tanning beds may cause eye or eyesight damage, increase skin pigmentation and pre-cancerous lesions, and the actual risk of developing skin cancer and melanoma.”