Indoor tanning equipment includes all forms of artificial light sources that produce both UVA and UVB radiation.

Both the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization have declared ultraviolet radiation from these artificial light sources as a known carcinogen.

Sunless tanning via tanning beds is increasingly popular in the teenage population, and as many as 12.8 percent of high school students have reported using an indoor tanning device.

According to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, a part of the Centers for Disease Conrol, nearly 70 percent of indoor tanning patrons are Caucasian females ages 18 to 25.

In the same general age group, malignant melanoma is rapidly increasing in women aged 15 to 29 years.

Multiple studies have revealed that exposure to ultraviolet radiation in the form of indoor tanning devices is associated with a heightened risk of both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, which include basal and squamous cell carcinomas.

There has been a documented 59 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in individuals who have been exposed to ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning, and that risk increases with subsequent uses.

In May of 2014, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) delivered new rules strengthening cautions for indoor tanning use. These include: strong recommendations against the use of tanning beds by individuals under the age of 18, the reclassification of tanning beds and-or sun lamps as a moderate to high risk device and labels that include the risks of use.

The American Academy of Dermatology strongly opposes indoor tanning and supports a ban on the production and sale of indoor tanning equipment for nonmedical purposes.

The FDA recently announced steps to protect public health by preventing the use of indoor tanning devices by minors and reducing the risk of using these devices for adults.

The first proposal would restrict the use of tanning beds to individuals 18 years and older.

Also, adult users over the age of 18 would have to sign a risk acknowledgement certification that states they have been informed of the risks of use before their first tanning session and every six months thereafter.

The second proposal would require that sunlamp manufacturers and tanning facilities take additional measures to improve the overall safety of their devices. These measures would include prominent and easy-to-read labels on the devices, providing an emergency shut-off switch, improving eye safety, improving labeling on replacement bulbs and prohibiting dangerous device modifications.

The overall goal of these proposed rules is to aid adults in their decision-making based on facts and to ensure manufacturers and tanning facilities take additional actions to improve the safety of these devices.

Mandy Medlin, MSPAS, PA-C sees patients at the Bluffton office of May River Dermatology.