The Risks of Tanning and Ultraviolet Radiation

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“Statistics show that more than one million people tan in tanning salons daily. Nearly seventy percent of people who go to tanning salons are Caucasian girls and women, aged from sixteen to twenty- nine years. Out of about twenty- eight million people who tan indoors, about twenty- three million are teens. In 2010, the indoor tanning industry’s revenue was estimated to be $2.6 billion” (AAD). Exposure to ultraviolet radiation substantially increases an individual’s risk of health problems and irreversible skin damage. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is present in normal sunlight and sunlamps. “The sun emits energy over a broad spectrum of wavelengths: visible light that [one] can see, infrared radiation that [one] feels as heat, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation that [one] cannot see or feel. UV radiation has a shorter wavelength and higher energy than visible light. It affects human health both positively and negatively” (U.S. EPA). There are multiple types of ultraviolet radiation known to scientists and each affects human in different ways. “The longer ultraviolet rays (UVA), which penetrate deep into the skin, are responsible for tanning. Shorter rays (UVB) damage superficial skin cell layers, causing sunburn” (Harvard). Medical researchers at the Skin Cancer Foundation found that “the cumulative damage caused by UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), as well as skin cancer” (Skin Cancer Foundation).
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