Several risks are involved with using indoor tanning products. For instance, if you use an indoor tanning booth or bed, you are exposing your body to UV (ultraviolet) radiation, which promotes skin damage, eye injuries, melanoma and other skin cancers.
Because of the gradual impact of UV radiation, it places children, adolescents and young adults at a higher risk for eye and skin conditions in their later years. The FDA is determined to minimize the damage of UV radiation caused by indoor tanning products by prohibiting the use of these products by people under the age of 18. Also, indoor tanning sites are required to provide literature about the possible risks associated with using an indoor tanning product and have the consumer acknowledge the awareness of such risks by signing an acknowledgment form.
The FDA is also considering another rule that will require makers of indoor tanning products and tanning sites to create more proactive strategies to prevent injuries from using these products.
Dr. Markham Luke, dermatologist and deputy office director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health tells us that using indoor tanning products at a young age (childhood and young adulthood) increases the potential to develop melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Markham also states that several hundred youth each year in the US get injured from using an indoor tanning product.
The American Academy of Dermatology states that exposure to indoor tanning products make people 59% more likely to have melanoma than people who have never used an indoor tanning product.
Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 2003 to 2012 conclude that there are over 3,000 emergency room visits in the US alone due to indoor tanning product-related injuries. Interesting enough, over 400 of the patients were adolescents under the age of 18.
Things to Keep in Mind for those Still Planning on Using an Indoor Tanning Product
Now the FDA has taken steps to prevent injuries to minors who use tanning products. FDA-approved products will carry a disclaimer that prohibits the use of the tanning product by people under the age of 18. Indoor tanning products are required to have a visible, black-box disclaimer that people under age 18 should not use the product. Also keep these points in mind:
- Being exposed too long (like near the maximum time for the tanning device) can cause sunburn. Since it takes from 6 to 48 hours to realize your skin is sunburned, it’s going to be hard to tell if you’ve stayed exposed for too long.
- If you take medications or use certain cosmetics, it may make you sensitive to the sun (UV radiation actually), so consult your physician or pharmacist prior to using a tanning product.
- Neglecting to wear protective goggles while doing indoor tanning can cause temporary or long-term eye problems.
- Always follow the directions for the tanning product. If you have skin that easily burns or is hard to tan (or does not tan at all), then it is highly recommended you do not use an indoor tanning product.