Morsani College of Medicine

Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery

The Dangers of Teens using Tanning Beds

Nearly 28 million people tan indoors in the United States each year. Of these, 2.3 million are teens. What many of these people may not know, is that ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds, is a carcinogen, or cancer causing agent. UV light is associated with the development of skin cancer, such as melanoma, and premature aging. The American Academy of Dermatology supports the World Health organization’s recommendation that minors should not use indoor tanning equipment because overexposure to UV light can lead to the development of skin cancer. To decrease the risk of developing skin cancer, people should limit their exposure to UV light, wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Try to avoid sun exposure between 10 AM and 4 PM when the sun is most intense. Be sure to check your skin for any spots that are changing in size, shape or color. Other warning signs of cancer may include itching, pain, or bleeding. Be sure to bring any such lesions to the attention of your dermatologist. An annual skin exam with a dermatologist can help detect skin cancers while they may still be treated.

by:  Basil S. Cherpelis, MD

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