SOLARIUM AND AESTHETIC MEDICINE
Recently, the news that a former European Beauty Queen caught Melanoma, one of the deadliest types of cancer, as a result of her habit of going to the solarium to tan her skin, and died at a very young age, did not receive enough coverage in the media. Another similar death news came from Australia. For these reasons, I wanted to bring the Solarium issue to attention as one of the main health threats.
In a study published in October 2012 in the well-known medical journal British Medical Journal, it was reported that basal and squamous cell skin cancers, known as non-melanoma-skin cancer, are more common in people who enter the tanning bed. In another study published in the same journal in July 2012, it was reported that the risk of melanoma in people who use a solarium is greatly increased in those who use a solarium before the age of 35. These latest studies are scientific and convincing studies showing that exposure to artificial Ultraviolet (UV) rays such as Solarium causes skin cancers. Due to similar studies, the use of Solarium under the age of 18 is already prohibited in the following countries: France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Belgium, England, parts of Canada, USA and Australia.
Experts on the subject suggest that the European Union, like the USA, should make an announcement as a cancer-causing agent for solariums, as well as for tobacco, and additional measures should be brought to solariums. Solariums are now recognized as a Class I Carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO).
A solarium is an artificial (artificial) tanning device. There are lamps that give ultraviolet (UV) rays on this device. UV rays cause the production of Melatonin in the skin. Melatonin is produced to protect the skin from UV rays, and when the amount is increased in the skin, it gives a bronze-like color to the skin, that is, it provides tanning on the skin. As a result, people enter the Solarium to tan their skin color.
Solarium is not harmless. The claim that solariums are more harmless than tanning by sunbathing outdoors is scientifically incorrect. The reason for this claim is that only UV A rays are given from solarium lamps, whereas both UV A and UV B rays are present in the sun’s rays in the open air. Until recently, it was thought that UV A rays did not harm the skin, but recent scientific studies have revealed that UV A rays also damage the skin and can cause skin cancer.
On the other hand, the response of each person’s skin to the sun’s rays (and therefore to UV rays) is different, and in this respect, different skin types have been scientifically defined. Some skin types tan first and quickly, but sunburn is slow and late; In some skin types, sunburn is first and rapid, but their tanning is late and slow. There are many intermediate skin types that fall between these two skin types. As a result, each person’s tanning degree and speed when entering the Solarium, that is, the response of the skin to protect itself from UV rays, is different. This situation causes the time spent in the Solarium to be different from person to person. It is difficult to control this and it is not always possible in practice. However, the UV effect on a person’s skin is cumulative for a lifetime. As a result, no one realizes that UV rays accumulation occurs as a result of sunlight or Solarium, and it is not known when that person will exceed the accumulation limit and develop cancer. This situation is very similar to the occurrence of allergies.
On the other hand, if the lamps in the Solarium are not adequately and correctly controlled and replaced in time, they may start to emit UV B and even UV C rays other than UV A rays. It is difficult to control this and may not always be possible.
As a result, Solarium is as harmful to health as direct sunlight and especially for people with fair skin. For this reason, it is necessary to protect and avoid the Solarium as well as direct sunlight.
Prof Dr Ata Uysal