May 13th, 2008
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Many of us rushed off to the tanning salons when they began opening all over the country. Today, even the smallest towns seem to have at least one tanning salon making them easily accessible to teenagers. Many parents thought the tanning salons were safer than outdoor tanning and encouraged the use. After all, the time of exposure was limited, there was privacy, and teenagers could avoid a burn on vacation by getting a starter tan. If you have recently adopted a teenager, she may pressure you for a membership. She may think that a tan could help her fit in, make friends, or become popular. Did you know that indoor tanning could be addictive for these women because it causes the production of endorphins, which can initiate dependency? How could something so logical and simple like tanning indoors be dangerous?

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Two young women in their early twenties are spreading the message about the dangers of using tanning salons. These young women began using tanners at the age of 17 achieving a coveted beautiful dark tan. They had no idea then, that three years later they would be diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Now Meghan Rothschild a 24 year old from Wilbraham, Mass., and Brittany Lietz, 23, from Annapolis, Md., are speaking out.

The American Academy of Dermatology has a new public service advertisement (PSA) campaign that is allowing these women to tell their stories. The campaign hopes to communicate the risks of indoor tanning to young women. Indoor tanning is most dangerous for women under 35 and especially those under 20 who may still be growing and developing. The theme on television and radio advertisements is “Indoor Tanning is Out.”

Over one million Americans tan a day in tanning salons. Research indicates that females between 16 and 29 make up 70 percent of the indoor tanner salon clientele. Research also reveals that melanoma is increasing faster in females between 15 and 29, than it is in same age males. One American dies every hour of melanoma. Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared UV radiation from the sun and artificial sources as a known carcinogen.

Remember to apply sunscreen liberally every two hours, and after swimming, or sweating. You need to use sunscreen even on cloudy days. The American Academy of Dermatologists doesn’t recommend using combination sunscreen and insect repellents. This is because one is used liberally every two hours and the other is to be used sparingly every six hours. They also may reduce the effectiveness of each other.

For more information, visit the Academy website or call 1-888-462-DERM (3376

Photo Credit Cogdogblog 05/30/2006 Flickr Creative Commons
Attribution license creative commons

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