To keep you on a healthy and balanced path, let me start off this post by giving you a few reasons to avoid the indoor tanning beds:
1. There are no words… except– do you really want to look like this? (picture source)
2. Skin Cancer; Basal Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma
Basal Cell Carcinoma: (picture source)
- The most common form of non-melanoma skin cancer- 75% of all skin cancers.
- According to the NIH high exposure to x-ray rays or radiation (as found in tanning salons puts you at a greater risk).
- Your doctor will take a biopsy for diagnosis; this kind is most likely not going to spread to other parts of your body. But still, you want to avoid this ugly foe.
Melanoma (picture source)
- The most dangerous type of skin cancer.
- According to the NIH Is the leading cause of death from skin cancer that can be found on any region of the body– including the iris (colored part) of the eye.
- Melanoma is caused by changes in pigment cells called melanocytes that produce melanin– that are responsible for skin and hair color.
- Unlike basal cell carcinoma, melanoma is more likely to spread, and can involve other tissues, lymph nodes etc. It is important to have your skin checked for moles each year.
The dangers of indoor tanning
- According to a recent study at Yale School of Public Health in collaboration with Yale Cancer Center, researchers found that “young people who had tanned indoors had a 69% increased risk for early onset basal cell carcinoma. ” The study also found that 43% of those cases (that were in women) could have been prevented if indoor tanning was avoided.
- Another study, conducted at the University of Minnesota found that regardless of age or device used, people who use “any type” of indoor tanning beds were 74% more likely to get the deadliest form of skin cancer– Melanoma.
Getting a safer bronze
Ok, so now that I have sufficiently scared you both from the image of our leathery foe (recently referred to as Wile E. Coyote by Jimmy Kimmel), and through the frightening statistics about skin cancer and tanning, let me give you a few better bronzing options.
1. Tanning towels - Though these may turn your hands orange, and they do have chemicals in them– they are generally safer than being over-exposed to the known carcinogen of radiation from the tanning beds.
2. Spray tanning - This is also a safer way to get a golden glow.
But what about the vitamin D?
While I am sure that most of you who go to indoor tanning beds go for other reasons than to get your daily dose of vitamin D (something that is hard or impossible to get north of the Mason Dixon line in the fall and winter months), one of the only perks to tanning is that it does boost your vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D has been touted for:
- Boosting calcium absorption and improving general bone health
- Reducing inflammation
- Promoting cell growth
- Boosting immune function
- May have some anti- cancer properties (still under exploration)
You get the point - adequate vitamin D is important for health.
Great news! You can get vitamin D from a few food sources and from supplements. The FDA recommends 600 IU/ daily for people 1-70 years of age, and 800 IU/ daily for people 70 and older. Most multivitamins have vitamin D– but you can also buy over the counter vitamin D supplements.
If you’d rather get your D from food here are a few good sources:
1. Salmon (picture source)
2. Vitamin D fortified milk (picture source)
I think by this point you should get the picture. It is important to avoid the tanning bed at all costs for your health now and in the future. And if for no other reason… you don’t want to look like like our leathery foe seen uptop!
- Healthy Gal