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New Benefit Discovered from Tanning Could Negate Cancer Risk

Tim Boyer's picture

The results of a recent study to be presented by dermatologists at The International Investigative Dermatology conference in Edinburgh, Scotland this week reveals that exposure to the UV rays from tanning beds and natural sunshine has the newly discovered health benefit of reducing blood pressure.

This news comes in stark contrast to other news reports earlier this week about the Food and Drug Administration promising more oversight of and requiring the tanning industry to place new warning labels on tanning beds alerting users about the risk of developing cancer.

These measures are in response to health authorities reporting that melanoma― the deadliest form of skin cancer, which according to the American Academy of Dermatology is the second most common form of cancer among young adults (especially young women)―is on the rise with no indication of stopping without some type of intervention.

More recently, research has shown that melanoma poses a 75 percent increased risk in people who have been exposed to UV light from indoor tanning.

The controversy of the study presented at The International Investigative Dermatology conference is that the researchers suggest that the benefits of lowered blood pressure in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke from indoor and outdoor tanning may outweigh the risk of developing skin cancer.

According to a press release issued by the University of Edinburgh:

Researchers studied the blood pressure of 24 volunteers who sat beneath tanning lamps for two sessions of 20 minutes each.

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In one session, the volunteers were exposed to both the UV rays and the heat of the lamps. In the other, the UV rays were blocked so that only the heat of the lamps affected the skin.

What the researchers found was that that diastolic blood pressure numbers of the participants dropped significantly (up to 5 mmHg) for one hour following exposure to UV rays, but not after the heat-only sessions.

The diastolic number, which is the lower of the two numbers used in a blood pressure reading that measures the pressure in the arteries during a resting stage between heartbeats, is an important measure of heart health where a reading of 90 mmHg and above is considered hypertensive.

The researchers attribute the lowered blood pressure to the release of nitric oxide in the body caused by exposure to UV light. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate and thereby lowers blood pressure and increases circulation. A decrease of 2mmHg in the overall population can lead to a significant reduction in the incidence of heart disease.

The results of this study is expected to raise considerable controversy as it appears to be at odds of what the public is currently being told by health authorities regarding the health risks of sun exposure and tanning.

According to Dr. Richard Weller, Senior Lecturer in Dermatology at the University of Edinburgh:

“We suspect that the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risk of skin cancer. The work we have done provides a mechanism that might account for this, and also explains why dietary vitamin D supplements alone will not be able to compensate for lack of sunlight. We now plan to look at the relative risks of heart disease and skin cancer in people who have received different amounts of sun exposure. If this confirms that sunlight reduces the death rate from all causes, we will need to reconsider our advice on sun exposure.”

For additional informative articles about health and exposure to UV light, click on the following titled links:

Why You Don't Need to Take a Vitamin D Supplement Ever Again
Gel Manicure Dangers and Safer Options Recommended on Dr. Oz Show
Sunburn isn’t all bad: Researchers tap into healing power
Reference: University of Edinburgh― “Sunshine could benefit health”