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If you were thinking that tanning indoors was safer than natural sunlight, soft play area equipment suppliers think again! Indoor tanners have a significantly higher risk of developing melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors before. This is a startling statement to say the least, especially when so many have been led to believe that the worst tanning is natural sunlight. The problem with studies up until now have been the inability to adequately measure a person's outdoor sun exposure in contrast with indoor tanning, which made it difficult to determine which carried a higher risk of melanoma.

About Melanoma

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It is also the least common, but before you get to comfortable with that information, you should know that even though it is uncommon it is the largest killer. What that means is although melanoma accounts for a mere 4% of skin cancer diagnosis, it also accounts for 79% of skin cancer deaths. You could say that this is a small but insidious form of skin cancer.

One fact that is cause for great concern is that melanoma is one of the fastest increasing skin cancers in the United States. There is speculation that the increases are due to the increased usage of indoor tanning devices, especially in cooler states like Minnesota.

Indoor Tanning Risks of Melanoma

The most recent study concerning the risks of melanoma associated with indoor tanning devices is startling and somewhat disturbing. Researchers looked at over 1,000 cancer patients, diagnosed between 2004-2007 in Minnesota, compared to a control group randomly selected from the states drivers' license registry. All subjects were matched according to gender and age.

The study found that any exposure to an indoor tanning device left participants 74% more likely to develop melanoma than those who had never tanned indoors before. These results were independent of age or gender factors, in other words your age or gender do not matter. The one factor that did increase your chances of developing this dangerous form of skin cancer was indoor tanning frequency. Those who have 100 hours or more of tanning under their belt were found to be 3 times more likely to have a melanoma.

Conclusion

At this point researchers are cautioning against any use of indoor tanning devices. The lead researcher for this study has gone on record as saying, "there are no safe tanning devices." It is also important to note that researchers found no conclusive proof that one form of tanning bed was safer than another, UVA versus UVB, despite what you may have been told. There is of course more room for research on this disturbing trend, but until there are better numbers, it might be wise to limit or end your indoor tanning sessions.