NEW YORK--In its aggressive attacks on the American Medical Association and American Academy of Dermatology, the tanning industry uses disinformation to obscure the fact that artificial sources of ultraviolet (UV) light are no safer than the sun, said Rex Amonette, MD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology and clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Memphis.
The assertions that indoor tanners emit UVA only and that UVA is not associated with the development of skin cancers are both false, he said at a Skin Cancer Foundation media briefing.
Devices Emit UVB Radiation
"Up to 23% of the light from these devices is in the UVB range, but even with pure UVA, we are seeing DNA damage, cancer, vascular damage, and melanocyte stimulation," Dr. Amonette said.
Furthermore, the opportunity for abuse with home units is enormous, and with falling prices, sales of home units have increased dramatically. "In fact," he said, "many physicians own home tanning beds and they are among the worst offenders. We simply must be better role models for our patients."
Dr. Amonette cited a case history of a patient who, after more than 5 years of daily 20-minute exposure in a tanning parlor, had developed 15 basal cell carcinomas on her back, trunk, and face. The lesions were unusually deep, large, and rapid in their growth.
He noted that in his observation, skin cancers related to tanning parlor use seem to be deeper and faster growing than those induced by sun exposure.