Tanning beds just as dangerous as sun bathing, dermatologist says

March 20, 2013

Despite the fact that 30 states in America have restrictions on the use of commercial tanning beds by those 18 and younger, Idaho recently joined 17 states that do not restrict tanning bed use among minors.

"You wouldn't stand naked a few inches from the sun, yet that is essentially what you are doing in a tanning bed," said Julie Moore, MD, dermatologist, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of the Loyola University Health System. "Tanning beds are just as dangerous as outdoor sun bathing when it comes to the potential for ."

Women ages 18 to 25 are the fastest-growing group for a new diagnosis of skin cancer, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Why? At this age, women put more value in their appearance and feel they are invincible, Moore said. "Wrinkles, age spots and leathery skin have not yet happened to them."

According to the (CDC), less than one-third of all young people take the proper steps to protect their skin from excessive exposure to the sun. Having just one blistering childhood sunburn more than doubles the chance of developing a melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer - later in life, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Moore points out there are more options than ever for those who seek a healthy glow. "Bare arms, shoulders and legs can be safely bronzed using self-tanning creams and lotions to achieve a healthy appearance without the unhealthy side effects." Gone are the days when skin turned orange due to drugstore tanning lotions. "There are many excellent brands at the drugstore today that create a very realistic color," Moore said. "I use self-tanning lotion found over the counter year-round."

Here are Dr. Moore's five favorite tips for protecting skin from cancer:

  • "During your next hair, pedicure or massage appointment, ask if there are any unusual moles or ."Self-checking in certain areas is very difficult; don't hesitate to enlist the aid of those around you to monitor your skin's health."
  • "Create a map of your skin and note any changes. Draw an outline of a body, front and back, and note on the diagram where you have moles or spots. Include comments such as the size, shape and color. After bathing, when you towel off and apply lotion is a good time to get in the habit of performing self-checks. Use a hand-held mirror to view between toes and the bottom of your feet and back."
  • "Know your A, B, C, D and E's: A-Asymmetrical, B-Border, C-Color, D-Diameter and E-Evolving. These describe how to evaluate a mole."
  • "Slip, slap and slop. Slip on a long-sleeved shirt or pants. Slap on a cap or hat plus sunglasses. Slop on sunscreen. Use a shot-glass-sized portion of lotion with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher. Buy products that offer UVA and UVB protection, which should include ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone and oxybenzone."
  • "Use self-tanning creams and lotions to get that sun-kissed glow. Don't risk your life for the prom. Wrinkles, sunspots and leathery skin are not a happy souvenir of sun bathing or , especially when you can get the same tanning effect from a bottle."
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that cancers in children often go undiagnosed because doctors don't think to look for skin cancer in youngsters. Unlike adults, there are currently no set guidelines for skin examinations in children.

Explore further: Many still tanning, despite dangers, survey finds

Related Stories

Many still tanning, despite dangers, survey finds

May 28, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Despite public education efforts, many young adults still don't understand the dangers of sun exposure and tanning, a new U.S. survey finds.

Tanning beds could provide a greater risk than originally thought: new study

October 10, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- A new study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology has found that, despite previous information, the UVA radiation used in tanning beds may cause more damage to the skin that was originally ...

What you need to know about sunburns and tanning

May 10, 2012
(AP) -- Roughly half of young adults under 30 say they've had a sunburn in the past year. Not a big deal?

Skin cancer increasingly common in teens and young adults

May 7, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- With summer just around the corner, pediatricians at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center are sounding the alarm on a disturbing trend: A growing number of teenagers and young adults diagnosed with skin ...

Resist temptation to tan, despite winter doldrums

December 30, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Don’t let winter’s lack of sunshine lure you into a tanning bed. 

Increased tanning bed use increases risk for deadly skin cancers

October 24, 2011
Researchers confirmed an association between tanning bed use and an increased risk for three common skin cancers — basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, according to results presented at the 10th ...

Recommended for you

Women who sexually abuse children are just as harmful to their victims as male abusers

August 21, 2017
"That she might seduce a helpless child into sexplay is unthinkable, and even if she did so, what harm can be done without a penis?"

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.