As warmer weather approaches most folks are looking forward to “fun in the sun” and shedding those wintertime pasty-looking complexions. Many people crave the golden sun-kissed look so much
they visit tanning salons year-round. While it is a health concern for adults, it’s even more so for teens.
Using tanning beds as a way to stay “bronze and beautiful” throughout the year is becoming more and more popular, especially for teenage girls. But at what price?
Tanning salons are required to limit the number of daily visits their patrons can make to their salons. People have found a way to get around these restrictions by visiting different salons in one day. While this may help maintain a “healthy” looking tan, beneath the surface there is a lot of unhealthy business going on. And as a result, the incidence of skin cancer is on the rise.
For this reason legislation to ban or restrict teens from the dangerous effects of tanning beds is either being considered or passed in 17 states. But aren’t tanning beds safer than suntanning?
Actually, tanning beds are worse. That’s because a tanning bed emits primarily ultraviolet rays, and some experts believe this causes cancer.
Anytime a person gets a sunburn (whether from the real sun or not) genetic damage is delivered to skin cells. This accelerates aging and because teens are still growing, their skin cells divide more rapidly. This puts them at even greater risk for skin cancer.
It should come as no surprise that the tanning bed industry is fighting the proposed legislation tooth and nail. It uses two misleading facts to propagate the use of tanning beds:Misleading fact #1:
Because sunburn causes melanoma, it’s better to use controlled tanning from a tanning bed so that sunburn can be prevented. In this case the tanning bed helps build up protection in the skin.
The truth is a “base tan” does not offer this kind of protection.Misleading fact #2:
When the skin is exposed to UV rays vitamin D is produced. Vitamin D has been shown to prevent certain cancers.
While this is true, medical experts state that a healthy diet or small doses of daily sun exposure is the way to get vitamin D–not a tanning bed.Restrictions on tanning beds.
The restrictions on teen use of tanning beds vary state-by-state. For example, California prohibits children under 14 from using a tanning bed without a medical prescription. Ohio requires parental approval but legislation would mean an outright ban on teen use.
If you’re a parent of a teen, it’s your responsibility to let your child know about the deadly risk of skin cancer associated with tanning beds. Yes, it’s difficult to persuade teens to stay away, especially when Hollywood often equates a bronzed complexion with attractiveness. However, as more and more cases of teens being diagnosed with skin cancer become public, perhaps more teens will listen. If not, legislators may be right to step in to do the job of parents.
Want a safer tan? Check out IHTV's episode on the "Veggie Tan
" - A recent study found that one can derive a healthy, tan look or glow from carotenoids found in some of your favorite fruits and vegetables.