The FDA is now requiring a black box warning on tanning beds for minors to refrain from using the devices. It has been estimated that 30 million people use tanning beds each year and that over two million of those are teenagers. The UV radiation received when using a tanning bed one time is the equivalent of standing in direct sunlight between 10:00am and 2:00pm for two weeks. So, why the concentration on minors?
Because we experience most of our sun exposure before the age of 18. Children spend a larger amount of time exposed to sunlight, and are typically less concerned about sun protection. UV radiation damages the skin and can lead to cancer. People who use indoor tanning during adolescence and early adulthood run an even higher risk of getting melanoma. Some of the risks for everyone who tans indoors include: Premature aging of the skin - in the form of wrinkles, and age spots Change in skin texture - dry, tough skin Increased risk of potentially blinding eye disease (ocular melanoma) tanning-bed Some common misconceptions about indoor tanning Indoor tanning is safer than sun tanning. Just because you have a timer set on the tanning bed, doesn't mean you are getting less UV radiation.
As we have already learned, the UV radiation from a tanning bed is at a much higher concentration. This can vary considerably, depending on the age and the type of bulbs being used in the bed. Having a 'base tan' will protect me. It is true that having a tan already does provide Sun Protection Factor (SPF) protection. However, that protection is rated at SPF 3, while the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends sunscreen with at least SPF 15. A tan simply does not provide enough protection from the sun or UV rays. Indoor tanning provides vitamin D. The actual amount of vitamin D required varies from person to person.
While vitamin D is essential for good bone growth, it is safer to get the required amount through pills or diet supplements. Pennsylvania is a beautiful state with plenty of outdoor activities. Please be safe this Summer by protecting yourself and your children from harmful UV radiation.