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What to Know Before Seeking that “Healthy Glow”

Sunscreen

Spring is quickly coming to an end, and everyone is eager to enjoy the summer sunshine.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a jump on the season with a visit to a tanning salon, however, you might want to think again.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that indoor tanning is no safer for your skin than being in the sun outdoors, because in both cases you’re exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays that damage skin and can cause skin cancer.

Consider this information from the CDC.

  • Indoor tanning is especially dangerous for young people, who, according to research, are some of the most likely users of tanning beds or booths. The CDC concluded that those who begin tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have higher risk of developing melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer, and the second most common cancer in women between 20 and 29 years old.
  • A base tan is not a safe tan. While many believe that a tan can protect you from getting sunburned, if you have a tan, the damage has already been done. Tanning is your skin’s response to injury from UV rays, and it does little to protect you from further exposure.
  • Tanned skin is not healthy skin. Many people report that they feel healthier when their skin is tanned. But, the concept of a “healthy glow” is nothing more than a myth, according to the CDC, because every time you tan or burn, you expose yourself to harmful UV rays and increase your risk of melanoma.
  • While some claim that indoor tanning is safe because you can control your level of exposure to UV rays, research has found that indoor tanning exposes you to intense UV levels. Thousands of people each year require visits to hospitals due to injuries caused by tanning beds.
  • The most dangerous types of UV rays cause changes to the DNA in cells, and experts believe that those changes are likely the cause of skin cancers. Weaker UV rays are less likely to cause cancer but can result in long-term skin damage such as wrinkles, blotches and changes in the texture of the skin.
  • Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and, unlike many other cancers, it’s increasing in frequency. Protect yourself from dangerous UV rays by avoiding tanning salons and covering up when you’re in sunshine outdoors. Wear sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UV light, and use sunscreen with “broad spectrum” protection and a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. And, remember that UV rays are at their peak between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so avoid the sun during those times.

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