“Statistics show that more than one million people tan in tanning salons daily. Nearly seventy percent of people who go to tanning salons are Caucasian girls and women, aged from sixteen to twenty- nine years. Out of about twenty- eight million people who tan indoors, about twenty- three million are teens. In 2010, the indoor tanning industry’s revenue was estimated to be $2.6 billion” (AAD). Exposure to ultraviolet radiation substantially increases an individual’s risk of health problems and irreversible skin damage.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is present in normal sunlight and sunlamps. “The sun emits energy over a broad spectrum of wavelengths: visible light that [one] can see, infrared radiation that [one] feels as heat, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation that [one] cannot see or feel. UV radiation has a shorter wavelength and higher energy than visible light. It affects human health both positively and negatively” (U.S. EPA). There are multiple types of ultraviolet radiation known to scientists and each affects human in different ways. “The longer ultraviolet rays (UVA), which penetrate deep into the skin, are responsible for tanning. Shorter rays (UVB) damage superficial skin cell layers, causing sunburn” (Harvard). Medical researchers at the Skin Cancer Foundation found that “the cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), as well as skin cancer” (Skin Cancer Foundation).
Multiple sources have reported similar findings from their research proving that various types of skin damage occur due to overexposure of UV radiation. Researchers agree that skin burns, rashes, dry skin, and aging are all symptoms of tanning damage. Some of these symptoms may be treated but often times never cured. Damaged skin will affect an individual throughout his/her lifetime. The most serious affliction caused by tanning and overexposure to UV radiation is skin cancer. Research scientists continuously insist that "exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is linked to getting severe sunburns, especially at a young age” (U.S. FDA). Dr. Jessica Krant, a dermatologist in New York City states, “Sun damage adds up over time, increasing the chances of skin becoming dull, spotted, and wrinkled as you get older. More importantly, it increases your risk of skin cancer. [These] damaged cells start to record changes from the sun's rays [and] will show up later" (Crane).
Besides skin damage, tanning and overexposure to ultraviolet radiation causes more significant health problems with an individual’s eyesight and immune system. “UV-B radiation may suppress proper functioning of the body’s immune system and the skin’s natural defenses, leaving one more vulnerable to diseases… [And] can cause irreversible damage to the eyes” (U.S. FDA). Dr. Sophie J. Balk indicates that:
Exposure to solar UVB radiation is...