Just about the single healthiest thing you can do for your skin is to avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds compound the aging process, increasing appearance of unwanted wrinkles and age spots earlier in life. It also increases your chance of developing a skin cancer. Tanning beds magnify skin’s exposure to harmful UV rays and their use should be completely avoided. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, those who start tanning before the age of 35 raise their risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by almost 75 percent.
More states are starting to implement restrictions for tanning bed use by minors. In 2014, Washington State banned tanning bed use for those under the age of 18 with the support of State Senators King, Darneille, Kohl-Welles, Hewitt, Conway, and Frockt. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, at least 42 states regulate the use of tanning by minors and 13 states ban all use for those under 18.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, estimates that a national ban on tanning bed use for those 14 or younger would prevent almost 62,000 cases of melanoma, 6,700 melanoma deaths, and $343 million in treatment costs. A total ban on tanning bed use for all ages? Such a ban is estimated to save 23,000 lives from melanoma!
Teenagers in particular may be unaware of the facts or underestimate the consequences of tanning bed use. This study highlights how such a ban would positively impact our nation’s health and healthcare costs. It also serves as a reminder to take great care of our skin, as UV damage can dramatically affect our health at any time in our lives.