Dangers of Indoor Tanning

SPARKS, Nev. -- Sun-kissed or sun-damaged? It's no secret that time in the sun is dangerous for our bodies, but is tanning indoors any safer? Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and it's now affecting a younger age group.

Sun lamps and tanning beds give people the promise of a bronzed-body, but is it worth the risk?

"Melanoma is skin cancer that can metasticize more quickly than any other skin cancers and can kill you; that's the biggest danger when it comes to indoor tanning," Dr. Billie Casse, dermatologist of Nevada Center for Dermatology said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who use tanning beds have a 75 percent high risk of Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin.

"They kind of misconceive people with that, 'We don't have the burning rays,' which is completely false," Dr. Casse said. "It's the UV-A rays, which they are, that cause the Melanoma and more skin cancer, not that UV-B rays don't help with skin cancer."

A bill in Nevada for stricter regulations on indoor tanning beds just recently passed, banning minors from using them.

"I think there are too many young adults who aren't responsible enough to use the privilege of a tanning and they're too young to need to use it anyway," one Sparks resident said.

"People aren't aware of the dangers of any kind of sun exposure whether it's indoors or outdoors," a parent in Sparks said. "They do it more for the cosmetic reasons and don't think about the health implications."

The pressure from society to get a "healthy" look to their skin has given people false ideas about tanning.

"Everybody's worried because we all have a Vitamin D deficiency now that we're fighting and it's very very common," Dr. Casse said.

Vitamin D can only be provided by the sun or from supplements. So, your best bet at getting a nice skin tone this summer is a spray tan.

"For the facilitation of vitamin d to occur in the body, you need the UV-B ray,which tanning beds do not provide," she said.

It only takes about five to ten minutes for you to get a sunburn when you're outside. It's advised that you use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and to reapply every two hours. It's recommended that you apply one shot glass worth of sun screen to your body each time.

The ban on tanning beds for minors will go into effect on the first of next month. For tanning salons that fail to comply with the law, there is a $500 fine.


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