Answers to Common Skin Cancer Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about skin cancer.

What does indoor tanning do to the skin?

Indoor tanning exposes the skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation — UVA and UVB rays. This radiation causes changes in your skin cells, which results in tanning. The changes come from the effects of UV radiation on melanin and melanocytes in the skin. Melanin is responsible for skin color, and melanocytes are the cells responsible for producing melanin. Over time, UV radiation can cause genetic changes in the skin cells that can lead to skin cancer.

The tanning process is a protective measure of the skin to minimize genetic damage. However, there is no such thing as a safe tan.

When you tan, it means you’ve been exposed to UV radiation and damage to skin cells has occurred.

    Source: J. Scott Wilcher, MD, North Dayton Surgeons; Marcus Washington, MD, Premier Health Family Medicine; Brent Kirkland, MD, Dermatologists of Southwest Ohio; American Cancer Society; National Cancer Institute

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