Young people looking for an indoor tan get burned two-fold when ultraviolet light darkens their skin and their risk for skin cancer jumps as well, according to a recent study.
A study conducted by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon has determined that teens and young adults who use indoor tanning are more likely to get basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, at a young age.
The study was published in the July 1 issue of “Pediatrics,” the official journal for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Our findings suggest that teens and young adults who seek indoor tanning may be especially vulnerable to developing BCC,” said Margaret Karagas, lead author of the study and co-director of the Cancer Epidemiology and Chemoprevention Research program at Dartmouth.
The study collected data from 657 participants in New Hampshire under the age of 50 who had newly diagnosed cases of BCC, as well as 452 control subjects.
Data collected included the type of indoor tanning devices they used, skin sensitivity to the sun and how much time the subjects spent outdoors as a child.
More patients with early-onset BCC said they did indoor tanning with a tanning lamp than those in the control group. They were also more likely to burn rather than tan in their first hour of sun exposure during the summer, according to the study.
Part of the risk comes from the fact that indoor tanning products can produce 10 to 15 times as much ultraviolet radiation as the midday sun, according to the study.
Central to the study is the risk this presents to an overwhelming majority of young people, Karagas said.
“Seventy-four percent of high schools have at least one tanning salon within two miles, and an additional 22 percent have easy access to a tanning salon,” Karagas said. “We need to help young people understand these risks.”