How does tanning at a salon affect my risk of skin cancer if I'm a teen?

Joane Goodroe

Studies have found that indoor tanning is linked to skin cancer, including melanoma, which is the most aggressive form. But many people still tan indoors, and researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say teenagers are among them.

Gery Guy looked at national survey data on high school students: "Overall, about 16 percent of students reported using an indoor tanning device in the past year, with a quarter of girls reporting indoor tanning." Guy says many students said they were frequent indoor tanners – almost half said they did it 10 or more times a year.

The risk of skin cancer from sunlight or indoor tanning can rise with the amount someone tans.

The study is in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease,

Audrey Kunin, MD
Claims made by tanning salons that tanning beds are safe would seem to have been convincing as evidenced by the large number of loyal followers. But these purveyors have been proven wrong.
Exposure to ultraviolet light alters cellular deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and other skin proteins that drastically increase one's risk of developing skin cancer. In Sweden, researchers found that young people under the age of 30 were more likely to develop melanoma (a potentially fatal form of skin cancer) at a rate of 7 times that of the rest of the population. Also, it is well documented that the earlier in life one experiences ultraviolet (UV) skin damage, the more likely melanoma will develop. Most tanning bed users tend to be under the age of 30 (70%), which makes them highly vulnerable.

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