Indoor Tanning Fact Sheet
Indoor Tanning Fact Sheet
Who Tans Indoors?
• On an average day in the United States, more than 1 million people tan in tanning salons.1
• Of the customers, 70 percent are Caucasian girls and women, aged 16 to 49 years.2
• Nearly 30 million people tan indoors in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens.3
• The indoor tanning industry has an estimated revenue of $5 billion, a fivefold increase from 1992.4,5
Risks of Indoor Tanning
• The United States Department of Health & Human Services has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogen (cancer causing substance).6
• Indoor tanning lamps emit UVA and UVB radiation at levels that are far higher than the sun. New, high-pressure sunlamps emit doses that can be as much as 15 times that of the sun. 7
• Exposure to UV light is a known risk factor for melanoma.8
• A Swedish study presents strong evidence that indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma, especially when indoor tanning begins at an early age.9
• Medical research shows that exposure to UVA radiation is associated with an increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, the two most common types of skin cancer.10
• The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) opposes indoor tanning and supports a ban on the production and sale of indoor tanning equipment for non-medical purposes.
• Only half of the states regulate indoor tanning use by teens, despite the call from the World Health Organization (WHO) to prohibit teens from indoor tanning because of the dangers.11, 12
1Whitmore SE, Morison, WL, Potten CS, Chadwick C. Tanning salon exposure and molecular alterations. J Am Acad Dermatol 2001;44:775-80.
2Swerdlow AJ, Weinstock MA. Do tanning lamps cause melanoma? An epidemiologic assessment. J Am Acad Dermatol 1998;38:89-98.
3Kwon HT, Mayer JA, Walker KK, Yu H, Lewis EC, Belch GE. Promotion of frequent tanning sessions by indoor tanning facilities: two studies. J Am Acad Dermatol 2003;46:700-5.
4Dellavalle RP, Parker ER, Ceronsky N, Hester EJ, Hemme B, Burkhardt DL, et al. Youth access laws: in the dark at the tanning parlor? Arch Dermatol 2003;139:443-8.
5Demierre MF. Time for the national legislation of indoor tanning to protect minors. Arch Dermatol 2003;139:520-4.
6U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program. Report on carcinogens, 11th ed: Exposure to sunlamps or sunbeds.
7Gerber B, Mathys P, Moser M, Bressoud D, Braun-Fahrlander C. Ultraviolet emission spectra of sunbeds. Photochem Photobiol 2002;76:664-8.
8Gandini S, et al. “Meta-analysis of risk factors for cutaneous melanoma: 11. Sun exposure. European Journal of Cancer. 2005 January; 41(1):45-60.
9 Westerdahl J, Ingvar C, MasbackA. Jonsson N, Olsson H. Risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma in relation to use of sunbeds: further evidence for UV-A carcinogenicity. Br J Cancer 2000;82:1593-9.
10Karagas M, et al. “Use of tanning devices and risk of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2002 February 6;94(3):224-6
11Virgo Publishing. National Tanning Training Institute regulatory information.
12Francis SO, Burkhardt DL, Dellavalle RP. 2005: A banner year for new US youth access tanning restrictions. Arch Dermatol 2005;141:524-5
Last updated 2006
Courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology
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