While your members may be aware that exposure to sunlight increases their risk of skin cancer, experts warn that exposure to ultraviolet light A (UVA), which is used in sun-tanning beds, increases the risk for melanoma – the most malignant type of skin cancer.

At the 43rd annual meeting of the Noah Worchester Dermatological Society, experts presented a review of existing studies on UVA exposure and tanning beds to raise public awareness on the dangers of UVA exposure. According to the experts, when UVA rays penetrate the skin, they attack melanin (the pigment found in skin) and convert the melanin into a photo-carcinogen, which can be lethal.

Tanning beds deliver 99 percent of UVA rays to the skin, and even moderate exposure can significantly increase melanoma risk. In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1994, researchers found that women between the ages of eighteen to thirty who used tanning beds ten times or more a year were seven times more likely to develop melanoma than women who didn’t tan.

Experts believe that 95 percent of melanoma cases are caused by exposure to UVA rays, and recommend avoiding tanning beds altogether or, at the very least, using sunscreen before tanning to reduce the risk of melanoma. They encourage the use of sunscreens that contain Avobenzone, because it is the only FDA-approved sunblock that provides protection from UVA rays.

Whether your members sunbathe at the beach or at tanning salon, without protection, they run the risk of exposing themselves to UVA rays and increasing their risk of melanoma. Encourage members to avoid sun exposure, and to use sunblock with Avobenzone to lower their risk for melanoma and other types of skin cancers.

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