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TEENAGERS AND TANNING BEDS-WHAT EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW

In May of 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a final order reclassifying sunlamp products and ultraviolet (UV) lamps intended for use in sunlamp products from low-risk (class I) to moderate-risk (class II) devices. Sunlamp products, which include tanning beds and tanning booths, must carry a visible black-box warning on the device that explicitly states that the sunlamp product should not be used on persons under the age of 18 years.

Tanning beds and tanning booths, which are classified as sunlamp products, emit UV radiation that may cause skin cancer. “People who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning experience a 59 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. This risk increases each time they use a sunlamp product.” – AAD.org

The majority of states have implemented processes to protect minors who choose to tan, including requiring parental permission. On January 1, 2015, a bill that protects minors from the dangers of indoor tanning became a law. The states that signed the bill prohibiting minors under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning lamps are Delaware, Vermont, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oregon, Nevada, Texas and Washington.

Learn more about state by state regulations on tanning

In early 2014, a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology reported a decline in the use of indoor tanning amongst teen girls. According to the study, high school students were 20 percent less likely to have engaged in indoor tanning in 2013 when compared to 2009. Even so, heatlh experts agree that tanning remains a persistent issue.

Is your teenager visiting a tanning salon? It may seem like innocent, teenage vanity, but this activity is dangerous. Here’s why:

  • 2.3 million teens tan indoors in the United States annually
  • Teens may be especially susceptible to skin cancer because their cells are dividing and changing more rapidly than those of adults.
  • Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15 to 29 years old.
  • The risk for developing melanoma increases by 59 percent in individuals who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning devices, and the risks increase with each subsequent use.
  • Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer
  • One out of three teenagers say they tan because it looks healthy.
  • In a survey done by the AAD more than 80 percent of people aged 25 and younger feel they look better with a tan.

Learn about skin cancer from Dr. Asarch

Is your child addicted to tanning?

The need to “have a tan” can be an addiction called “Tanorexia”. A recent study found that individuals who tanned frequently reported that tanning is relaxing, improves their mood and makes them feel like they look “healthier”.

Does your teenager:

1. Need to tan in order to feel good?
2. Tan more than 8 times in a month?
3. Have anxiety or become agitated if he/she cannot find a way to tan?
4. Frightened by the idea of quitting tanning?

If your teen has these symptoms, you might consider seeking addiction counseling. Tanorexia is a serious condition that can lead to an even more serious problem, skin cancer.

Read further about Tanorexia by clicking here.

Need some help getting through to your teenager? Watch this short video together.

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