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Sunbed Tanning Can Cause Melanoma for Fair People

Update Date: Jun 07, 2012 05:41 PM EDT
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It is not only Hollywood bigwigs like Kim Kardashian and Snooki who are flaunting their sun-kissed bronze bodies. The craze for tanned skin can be witnessed among many more people, no matter who or how busy they are.

While for many years sun used to be the only source of giving oneself a tanned look and people could be seen laying on the beach for hours together, technology has made tanning much easier and simpler. Now people can get a tan of desired shade in less than half an hour.

A new study, however, says that the sunbed tanning, which emits out strong-intensity UVA rays from tanning lamps, also poses risk for fair-skinned people to contract skin cancer.

The study by a team from the United States, Poland and France warns light-skinned people against the ill-effects of the sunbed tanning.

The study, conducted on shaved mice, (the results of which also apply to human beings), revealed that UVA interacted with the pigment melanin in the skin and could cause the most dangerous type of skin cancer, melanoma.

"We think that this is a second pathway to melanoma," co-author Edward De Fabo, a photobiologist at the George Washington University in Washington, told AFP.

"You have the known UVB pathway (which causes) damage to DNA, and now we are saying that UVA interacting with melanin can cause damage to the DNA and cause melanoma."

De Fabo further said that tanning lamps emit up to 12 times the UVA intensity found in natural sunlight  and was made of about 95 percent UVA and five percent UVB.

He added that it is the initial stage of the tanning process that could damage the skin, when the skin is fair. He also said that he would advise people not to go to tanning salons, stating that new safety limits need to be set after further studies.

Malenoma is a very rare disease among people of dark skin tones as their skins do not allow the penetration of sun's UVA.

De Fabo also spoke about the common myth that getting a base tan from the sun-tanning parlors gets people ready for the high-intensity sunlight. "This is just not the case," he said.

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications. 

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