You may want to think twice before your next trip to an indoor tanning salon. Just ask Kim Benz, now 39, who underwent surgery twice to remove tumors on her face after being diagnosed with skin cancer in her early 20s. Benz was a regular user of the indoor tanning bed since she was 17 and now uses makeup to cover her facial scars.
A review of 12 studies, published Tuesday in the journal BMJ, read that indoor tanning increases the chances of being diagnosed with two types of common skin cancers—particularly “tanaholics” under 25. Researchers estimated that using indoor tanning beds may account for more than 170,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers, or basal and squamous cell carcinomas, which are found at the bottom of your skin’s outer layer.
Individuals who reported participating in indoor tanning had a 67 percent higher risk for being diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and a 29 percent higher risk for developing basal cell carcinoma, according to senior author of the study, Dr. Eleni Linos, and her colleagues.
Though melanoma, which begins in melanin*-producing melanocyte cells, is the deadliest form of skin cancer, more Americans are prone to getting non-melanoma skin cancers. More than 2 million of basal and squamous cell carcinomas happen in the U.S. each year, as stated on the American Cancer Society website.
Would you risk your health for a darker complexion?
(*Melanin: The main determinant of skin color)