Tighter regulation needed on teen indoor tanning

By Tom Nordlie • Published: March 27th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

There’s nothing like a healthy glow to enhance your appearance.

Too bad sun-tanning can make you LESS healthy, by promoting skin cancer.

That doesn’t stop some people, of course.

And if the weather isn’t favorable, they can opt for indoor tanning, using sun lamps or high-tech tanning salons.

Some states prohibit minors from using tanning salons. Others require them to get parental permission first.

But according to an article in the journal Cancer, there’s entirely too much teen tanning taking place.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from two nationwide telephone surveys of youth ages eleven to eighteen. One survey was conducted in 1998, the other in 2004.

Both showed the incidence of indoor tanning was about the same… around five percent of the boys and fifteen percent of the girls reported doing it within the past year.

Participants were more likely to use indoor tanning if they were older, female and had parents who used indoor tanning.

In states restricting minors’ access to tanning salons, it didn’t appear the laws dissuaded many teens.

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation was that almost sixty percent of respondents who’d used indoor tanning said they’d suffered a sunburn.

Because sunburns are a risk factor for skin cancer, dermatologists warn against them.

The researchers concluded that stronger laws are needed, along with more efforts to educate teens and parents about the dangers of tanning.

Short of that, remember that suntan lotions with U-V protection are perfectly acceptable for indoor tanning.

And don’t forget your goggles.