More evidence links indoor tanning to melanoma

August 8, 2012

Additional evidence points to indoor tanning as a significant risk for contracting melanoma, according to a French research team.

Lyon, France - Additional evidence points to indoor tanning as a significant risk for contracting melanoma, according to a French research team.

Investigators from the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis that included 27 studies and 11,428 cases of melanoma from 18 countries in western and northern Europe, MedPage Today reports. The results indicated a 20 percent increased risk for melanoma with any indoor tanning - and that the risk nearly doubled among those who began using tanning beds before age 35.

“Powerful ultraviolet tanning units may be 10 to 15 times stronger than the mid-day sunlight on the Mediterranean Sea, and repeated exposure to large amounts of ultraviolet A delivered to the skin in relatively short periods - typically 10 to 20 minutes - constitutes a new experience for humans,” the authors wrote.

In studies that considered risk according to the number of tanning sessions each year, there was a 1.8 percent increase in melanoma risk for each sun-bed exposure. For high use of indoor tanning, the risk increased by 42 percent.

The researchers report that melanoma could be attributed to indoor tanning in 5.4 percent of cases overall, and was associated with 6.9 percent of all melanoma cases in women.

The researchers called for tougher tanning salon regulations, particularly to restrict use by people younger than 18. “If sunbed use by teenagers and young adults does not substantially decrease in the short term, then more radical actions should be envisioned,” the study investigators wrote.

The study was published online in BMJ.

Go back to the Dermatology Times eNews newsletter.