tanning boothTan skin is often seen as a sign of health and energy. People enjoy that golden glow they get from spending a week at the beach or after working outdoors for a weekend. Of course, in the modern world there is less time and opportunity to get outdoors for a good tan. That’s why many individuals turn to tanning beds.

Utilizing a tanning bed can provide access to the same kinds of UV rays that come from the sun. Concentrated exposure time can leave tanners with the bronze they are looking for.

Unfortunately, either through lack of knowledge or willful disregard of safety, many people ignore the very potent side effects of prolonged tanning. More and more research is surfacing revealing just how quickly tanning beds can cause adverse health effects.

What Negative Effects Can Tanning Beds Have?

The key to skin tanning is exposure to ultraviolet radiation, an unseen wave of energy that accompanies normal sunlight. Ultraviolet comes in two variations, UVA (long wave) and UVB (short wave).  There is a misconception that tanning bed manufacturers and salons are all too happy to propagate that suggests only uvb radiation causes skin cancer conditions. As such, many manufacturers and salons report confidently that their beds only produce UVA, which tans the skin while avoiding cancer risk.

Solid data from scientific research shows that UVA is even more damaging to the skin as it penetrates deeper layers. Nevertheless, extended exposure to either (or both) types of UV can have deleterious effects.

Some of the more obvious problems with tanning involve burns, blistering, redness, and sensitivity. However, prolonged exposure has been linked to drastically heightened cases of skin cancer and eye damage among other effects.

Do Tanning Beds Cause Skin Cancer?

Using a tanning bed does not automatically cause skin cancer. However, it does enhance the odds significantly. According to Health Physics Society:

“Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has been associated with an increased risk of skin cancer by epidemiological studies that have looked at causal factors in individuals who have skin cancer. Major scientific and medical organizations have concurred that UV radiation causes an increased risk of skin cancer and recommend limiting your exposure to UV—both from natural sunlight as well as from tanning booths.”

Further research on cause and effect:

“Over time, the effects of too much UVA exposure can lead to eye damage, immune system changes, cataracts, wrinkles and premature aging of the skin, and skin cancers. Look at your own skin and compare areas such as the front of your hands and your face to areas that are almost never exposed to solar radiation. The difference in skin texture, tone, wrinkles, ect. that you see are caused by exposure to the sun.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and approximately 90% of all skin cancers can be traced to UV exposure. Skin cancer most often occurs on the face, and almost never on the buttocks, inner thighs, or under the arms. The three main types of skin cancer are melanoma, basal-cell carcinoma, and squamous-cell carcinoma. Malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and its incidence is rapidly rising in women under 40.” – Women’s Health

Statistics for Melanoma and Other Maladies

The following statistics provide snapshot examples of skin cancer in the modern world and what exposure to tanning beds can do:

  • 123,590 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in the United States (US) in 2011 with 8,790 deaths
  • Melanoma rates have tripled in young women since 1973
    A 2004-2007 study indicated a 74% increase in Melanoma risk when exposed to tanning beds
  • The World Health Organization has officially declared tanning booths as carcinogenic (causing cancer)
  • UV exposure breaks down the collagen in the skin, causing wrinkling to occur at a more rapid rate
  • “The effects of UV on the eye include cataracts, pterygium and inflammation of the eye such as photokeratitis and photoconjunctivitis” – WHO
  • Over exposure to UV can suppress the immune system and increase sensitivity to infection
  • Fair skinned individuals and those with blue or green eyes are more susceptible to deleterious effects

Legal Rights For Injured Individuals

Using tanning beds is always a voluntary action, so it can be difficult knowing when you have legal rights to compensation. The two most common occurrences of tanning bed use are at a salon or via a home purchased booth.

Tanning bed manufacturers can be held accountable for injury if they purposefully withheld or misrepresented the dangers of their beds. Salons can be held accountable if they knew of certain dangers but refused to pass along proper information to their clients. Salons can also be liable for not monitoring their customers appropriately in terms of length of use or maintenance of the beds.

If you believe you’ve been injured due to negligence or misinformation from tanning bed manufacturers or salons, we can help. We are personally connected to some of the finest attorneys in the country working on the matter of tanning bed injuries. Utilize our free consultation form today and let us help you through the process.