Indoor tanning, commonly known simply as “tanning,” is a solipsistic process in which the participant intentionally places him or herself within inches of light bulbs specially designed to bombard the skin with the harmful UV rays most people have the good sense to avoid. As you might imagine, this leads to a remarkably increased risk of skin cancer. The good news, according to a new report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that indoor tanning rates are on the decline for adults in the U.S.
The bad news? They’re not dropping enough: Some 10 million adults still willingly enter expensive cancer boxes every year.
As recently as 2010, the adult usage rate for indoor tanning beds was a staggering 5.6%, which dropped to 4.2% in 2013. On average, women are bigger patrons of tanning salons than men, and account for most of the drop: 1.6 million fewer women were tanning by 2013 versus just 0.6 million fewer men. 7.8 million women and 1.9 million men still engage in indoor tanning.
“The tan is temporary, but the risk is permanent,” lead author Dr. Gery Guy Jr. told USA today.
Skin cancer is by far the most common form of cancer in the U.S., affecting an estimated 137,000 people by the end of 2015 alone. It’s believed that about 10,000 people die from skin cancer each year.
As part of the government’s “Healthy People 2020” program, the cancer initiatives include the goal of reducing the total percentage of adult indoor tanners to 3.6%, a reduction of two percentage points. In that regard, the recent drop is definitely a positive move in the right direction. They’ll have to make inroads with the 18-29 demographic, however, who still used tanning beds at a rate of 8.6% in 2013. Research shows that people who begin using tanning beds in their 20s (or earlier) are also more likely to continue using them.
Anyone who would like a tan should take note that besides being unnecessary, there is available to them a thing called “the Sun,” which is freely accessible to the public anywhere from eight to 16 hours per day, depending on the time of year. Tanning is the result of the body producing more melanin to protect the skin when exposed to the Sun; burning (and later, cancer) is the result of harmful UV radiation.
It’s perfectly possible to get a nice tan, outside, while wearing sunscreen.