MD Mama

Please, Don't Let Your Teen Go To a Tanning Salon

tanning bed.jpgWe've been hearing more and more about the dangers of tanning beds and salons, how using them can lead to skin cancer. The people who most need to listen to this, really, are parents.

We know that indoor tanning raises the risk of melanoma, which can be deadly. But an alarming study was just released in the journal Pediatrics. It says that basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a skin cancer that is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in humans, is becoming more common. And instead of being a disease of older men, it is becoming a disease of younger women. A big part of the reason: indoor tanning.

Ultraviolet light can change skin cells in ways that leads to cancer. What many people don't realize is that the UV light in a tanning bed can be 10 to 15 times as intense as sunlight. And here's what's really scary: using tanning beds as an adolescent or young adult can increase your risk of cancer for a lifetime--even if you get sensible and stop using them.

The decisions your teen makes about tanning beds can't be undone.

That's why parents really need to take a stand and say no. That's why all of us need to say no, and support regulations that would prevent youth from going to tanning salons.

It's also why we, as a culture, should rethink this whole tanning thing. Pale, untanned skin is beautiful too--it's time for us to value it more, give kudos to people for not tanning, stop putting tanned models in magazines, stop complimenting people on their tans. As long as we keep thinking of tans as making us look better, we are going to have this problem.

Please. You want your child to live a long, healthy life, right? Help them Just Say No to tans.

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