With teens expected to turn to tanning beds in the fall to keep their bronzy summer glow, parents are encouraged to talk about the dangers of “fake baking.”
“Using tanning beds before age 30 increases a person’s risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent, research shows,” said Dennis Hughes, assistant professor of pediatrics at M.D. Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital in Houston. “So, it’s important to talk to your kids about tanning beds just like you’d discuss smoking, sex, drugs and alcohol.”
Research-reporting service Newswise says 35 percent of 17-year-old girls have used tanning beds. One study showed tanning beds are addictive, with 80 percent of college kids who habitually tan saying they could not stop. Access to the facilities is easy, with an analysis of 116 American cities showing that tanning salons outnumber Starbucks or McDonald’s.
Parent should talk to their children before they start frequenting tanning facilities, Hughes said. Children should know tanning beds emit the same harmful ultraviolet light as the sun and, consequently, are not safe. Rather than making them look attractive, “explain that tanning will actually make them look worse” in the long run, Hughes advised. (Read more)