Each year, 28 million Americans use UV bulbs to artificially tan. The popularity of this method has lead to increased attention to the potential health effects; specifically, the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. This has been debated between the National Tanning Association and Scientific Researchers. While the popularity of artificial tanning increases, significant evidence suggest that the potential harm of artificial tanning exceeds that of outdoor tanning.
A necessity of any form of tanning is ultraviolet rays. One's body obtains these rays from both artificial and outdoor tanning. Ultraviolet radiation is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths shorter than visible light which forms these rays (Skin Cancer Foundation). Ultraviolet rays also know as UV rays are invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun (Ritter). The sun produces UV which is split into three different UV sources, UVA rays, UVB rays and UVC rays (Skin Cancer Foundation). The UVC (Ultraviolet C) rays usually never reach the Earth's surface; this is due to the absorption by the ozone layer that lies above the Earth . The UVC is the shortest of the rays measuring one hundred to two hundred ninety nano meters (Brannon). The variety of UV rays is slowly causing the depletion of the Earth's ozone layer (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). .
With the depletion of the ozone layer there is brief exposure to UVC rays. Prolonged exposure to the UVC ray is thought to be fatal. Along with UVC rays there are UVB rays, the "tanning" rays. This ray is the only with the power to reach the bodies top layer of skin, which is called the epidermis. The epidermis is a very thin layer of skin, almost as thin as a silk scarf. The UVB (short wave) rays are the main cause of sunburn or reddening of the skin. Ranging from two hundred ninety to three hundred twenty nano meters are the UVB rays (Brannon).