Tanning Beds and Skin Cancer

In modern society, looks play a major role in everyone’s lives. In recent years appearance has become extremely important and many people go day by day trying to perfect their appearance. As people search for this perfect image, they undergo numerous treatments and one of the most popular trends is artificial tanning, in which, in a matter of minutes people achieve that perfect skin tone they are looking for. But has the search for the perfect tan increased skin cancer possibilities? And Do tanning beds, in fact cause skin cancer?

This analytical essay will begin by defining skin cancer, identifying what causes this disease, and later on will examine, if indeed artificial tanning causes skin cancer and the dangers of this treatment. The rates of skin cancer have increased steadily since the 1920s, mainly because of self vanity and the obsession to obtain the perfect tan. Skin melanomas also know as skin cancer is a disease in which skin cells lose the ability to divide and grow normally. Simply put, it is when DNA becomes damaged and our body is unable to repair it.

When this occurs abnormal cells grow out of control and form a mass, known as a tumor. Skin cells that are healthy and in normal conditions, divide in an orderly way to replace dead cells and grow new skin. In order to understand how skin cancer is conceived, we must first understand that not all skin cancers are deadly or life threatening. At least 60% of all skin tumors are considered Benign or non- malignant tumors. These tumors grow in very few of our skins layers, and do not invade or surround vital organs or tissues.

On the other hand malignant or cancerous tumors crowd out and destroy most healthy cells in our body this, in consequence leads to the growth of tumors in the epidermis section of our skin. Malignant tumors are mainly caused by Ultraviolet radiation (UV) that comes from the sun. UV rays damage our DNA and cause abnormal growth in our skin cells. There are two main types of ultraviolet radiation; ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB), both contribute to the formation of malignant tumors.

Sun exposure is the leading cause for skin cancer but there are other cases in which skin cancer can develop. For example, between 5% and 10% of all skin melanomas are inherited. Aside from sun exposure and inheritance there is a new form, in which skin cancer can be developed and that has increased in alarming rates, artificial tanning. The skin cancer foundation of America, surveyed men and women between the ages of 18-24 and found out that 36% of women and 13% of the men thought they looked better with a tan.

Artificial intelligence has increased mostly because people find it easier to go to a tanning salon than going to the beach, especially people who live in land locked countries that don’t have any beaches. Although many people don’t know, artificial tanning is equally as bad as natural tanning. Artificial tanning consists of the reaction of our skin to UV radiation; when our skin is exposed to UV rays, cells in our skin called melanocytes produce that brown pigment melanin that darkens our epidermis layer of the skin.

This darkening of the epidermis is our skin cells defense against farther damage from UV lights. A great number of people think that after tanning since, their skin is darker it provides better protection from sun light, but this only applies to people who actually have a naturally darker skin color, since lighter skin tones often turn red (sunburn) and then brown, this produces genetic defects that can cause skin cancer. Is indoor tanning safer than outdoor tanning? Although not a myth completely, indoor tanning is essentially safer than outdoor tanning, mainly for two reasons: 1.

they only use UVA rays, and 2. they offer more controlled UV exposure. However the UVA rays used in indoor tanning are still considered carcinogenand many studies have revealed that tanning salons often exceed safe UV limits. After an alarming increase in skin cancer, studies were made to see if Artificial tanning was indeed a contributing factor to skin cancer, and study after study showed that “sun bed” tanning increased the risk of both melanoma and non melanoma skin cancers.

All in all indoor tanning is not as harmful as outdoor tanning but, nevertheless tanning whether it is indoors or outdoors, is harmful to our skin and with time can develop into a cancerous tumor. Modern society’s vanity and unfeasible desire for the perfect look is creating and helping expand an already deadly disease. In my opinion artificial tanning should be banned to help stop this growing epidemic in our society, where people sacrifice their health so that instead they measure up to society’s standards. If indoor tanning where banned, skin cancer statistics would lower and people would live healthier cancer free lives.

The previous stated hypothesis (The rates of skin cancer have increased steadily since the 1920s, mainly because of self vanity and the obsession to obtain the perfect tan. ) is supported due to the fact that; indoor tanning and tanning salons alone, increased skin cancer probabilities. Also because indoor tanning is just as harmful as outdoor tanning, since both methods involve UV rays that come from the sun. And finally because self vanity and the perfect tan encourage people to tan more often which consequently leads to the increase of skin melanomas both malignant and non-malignant.

My recommendation would be to use sun screen at a regular basis and that instead of harming your skin with UV radiation, it’d be best to use lotions or creams that make your skin appear darker than it really is, that way your DNA won’t be in any way, subject to harmful and unnecessary radiation from the sun.

Bibliography: * www. cdc. gov (Centers for disease control and prevention) * http://www. ehealthmd. com * http://www. skincancer. org * www. cancer. org (American cancer Society) * www. wikipedia. org.

DNA: molecule found in cells that encodes genetic information. [ 2 ]. Tumor or Tumour: solid lesion formed by an abnormal growth of cells which looks like a swelling. [ 3 ]. UVA: One of the three types of ultraviolet radiations caused by the sun, 98. 7% of its rays reaches the earth’s surface. [ 4 ]. UVB: One of the three types of Ultraviolet radiations caused by the sun, it is said that extreme exposure to UVB rays is one of the main causes of skin cancer. [ 5 ]. Carcinogen: any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer.

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