The more you use a tanning bed, the higher your risk of deadly skin cancers, according to research presented at an international cancer conference this week.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University in Boston followed 73,494 nurses who participated in a health study from 1989 to 2009, tracking their tanning-bed habits during high school and college, as well as between the ages of 25 and 35.
They also tracked overall average usage during those two periods in relation to basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma-three different skin cancers that are each named after the type of cells they affect. Of the three, melanoma is the least common but the most deadly.
For every four visits per year to a tanning booth, risk for basal and squamous cell carcinoma jumped 15 percent and risk for melanoma rose 11 percent. What’s more, the researchers found that using tanning booths in the younger age range, during high school and college, had a stronger effect on cancer risk.
Tanning beds have long been under fire for cancer risk. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement this year that supported banning tanning beds for children younger than 18. And this month, the beds were banned for use by minors in California.