Should Tanning Beds Be Banned?

According to a new survey from the American Academy of Dermatology, 81% of young white women use tanning beds or intentionally tan in the sun, despite repeated health warnings.

Indoor tanning before age 35 raises the risk of melanoma by 75 percent and the World Health Organization added tanning beds to its Group 1 List of cancer causing substances. In spite of the high risks, many teens use tanning beds, easily accessible and without age restrictions, to achieve the “perfect” bronze. Peoople are starting to take notice of the alarming statistics, and 12 states in the U.S. have bills pending that propose age restrictions for using commercial tanning salons. Yet still, more public awareness and education is needed.

There is incontrovertible medical evidence that exposure to Ultraviolet radiation UVA and UVB will result in significantly increased risk of skin cancer.  Additionally, prolonged exposure results in visible signs of aging such as sunspots and wrinkles.  While it is hard to quantify how much exposure is appropriate, the prudent approach would be to limit unprotected exposure to sun.  As in any other vice, such as alcohol, tobacco and fatty food, some folks will get away with it and some folks pay an early price.

A better alternative may be spray/chemical tanning.  This method changes the color of the outer layer of the skin without causeing an actual pigmentation.  It has to be performed in a safe manner so that there is no exposure to the eyes, lungs and mucous membranes. This temporary solution may help address the vanity without significant risk to the sanity!!

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Dr. Nabavian