New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics says indoor tanning beds are a hazard to children and adolescents. They also say adolescents should be discouraged from using them, because the intensity of ultraviolet radiation for tanning lights is much greater than sunlight, and is harmful. Use of tanning beds increases the risk of developing melanoma by 74 percent, according to a study from last year.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It can spread quickly to organs and bones, sometimes leading to death. An estimated 8,700 deaths were due to melanoma in America for the year 2010. Indoor tanning for teens appears to be most popular with teenage girls.
A misconception about the unnecessary and harmful practice is that it can build up a “pre-tan” before going on a sun-filled vacation and offer protection. Burning one’s skin with a very intense artificial light source before getting overexposed to sunlight is merely damaging the skin twice, however. It also leads to a false sense of security, where one believes the artificial tan is sufficient and there is no need for real protection like sunscreen, sunblock, protective clothing, and limiting the amount of time in the sun.
One needn’t be paranoid about sun exposure, but being informed properly and taking adequate measures can go a long way towards preventing skin cancer, and premature aging of the skin. Even though we now live in the Information Age, and there is widespread access to an abundance of consumer health content, the number of skin cancer cases is increasing.
“Attitudes about tanning are no different, as studies have shown that even though people know that overexposure to ultraviolet light can lead to skin cancer, they still tan. We need young people to realize that tanning for cosmetic reasons now will ultimately negatively affect their appearance later and even increase their risk for skin cancer,” said Dr. Coldiron from the University of Cincinatti. (Source: Sciencedaily.com)
The American Academy of Pediatrics is a leading health organization providing advice on children’s health. They are one of the largest publishers of children’s health educational materials in the world.
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