In the last two years, the numbers of 18- to 24-year-old who have suffered burn injuries in connection with visits to solariums has more than doubled, according to a study commissioned by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (Strålskyddsmyndigheten – SSM).
In 2008, nearly one in three people from that age group reported getting burned from visiting a tanning salon, up from 17 percent in 2006.
The agency has long advised people younger than 18 to avoid visits to tanning salons, but the new figures have caused SSM to propose new regulations instead.
“This is a very serious development. Young people’s skin is especially sensitive to the UV-radiation coming from tanning bed lights, so those who are younger have all the more reason to be careful,” said SSM radiation inspector Ulf Wester in a statement.
Those who experience burning while young run a greater risk of developing skin cancer later in life, including the particularly dangerous malignant melanoma.
One of the reasons people get burned during visits to the solarium is the difficulty in knowing how it takes before burning occurs.
Part of the cause can be that some tanning salons have beds with stronger lights than others.
“As a consumer, it’s impossible to know how strong the lights are,” said Wester.
In order to help prevent an increase in the number of skin cancer cases in Sweden, the agency suggests that Sweden’s tanning salons be restricted to customers aged 18-years-old and above, a measure which has already been implemented in many other European countries.