Teen Girls And Tanning Salons, a very dangerous combination. Teens are not adults! Check out this short story from a teen who thought she should be keeping a tan using tanning salons.
Have you lost the Teen Girls and Tanning Salons battle as I did? My oldest daughter was my first experience with the tanning salon. Soon the younger one was right in there too. After they were no longer at home, but away in college, and even on into working years. When I would check in on them on the weekend, for a quick chat, even if they had a tanning session scheduled, they never mentioned it.
Other weekend things like washing their cars, cleaning apartments, or whatever they had to do like laundry on the weekends, yes, those were mentioned. Tanning sessions? Not one word!
We had heard enough at that time to know that bad things were happening to some users of tanning beds. Here at home, we preached, but to an unhearing congregation! People are really single-minded in considering a short time pay off with long time results.
The fact that there is no skin cancer showing up immediately after a tanning session, they think they are getting off free, with no long-term issues.
The Tan Faded, The Skin Cancer Risk Increased!
As our older daughter reached 30, she still stayed at the tanning. With her fair skin and strawberry blonde hair, along with her blue eyes, skin cancer risks were already high. She just kept pushing. Scheduling more tanning sessions!
The younger daughter has a bit darker skin tone and brown eyes with dark blonde hair. She loved tan skin as well. It seemed to me that soon after turning 30, the tanning sessions were less important for either of them.
But before a cruise, the younger one did go for a series of spray tan sessions. Maybe they just got too busy with their lives about then. I will need to ask both why they stopped.
Like they didn’t tell me they were going to the tanning salon, they didn’t discuss stopping their tanning sessions. Neither wanted a lecture.
Can Your 16 Year Old Visit A Tanning Salon
According to Aim At Melanoma.org, the states are responding very slowly to any regulation to keep younger people out of tanning beds. The federal government is leaving this up to individual states to regulate and control.
If you live in California you know that they prohibit minors under 18 from using tanning devices. They were the first state in the nation to ban the use of UV indoor tanning devices for ALL minors under 18.
However, I had cousins in California who were 14 and tan in the wintertime, during the school year. How hard is it for an underage tanner to get an ID? There were parents who allowed their underage kids to go along and tan too when they went in for their tanning session.
These practices show how hard it is to regulate good health. Here is a link to some personalities and movie stars who had too much time in the sun. Take a moment and check out the proof before you.
Check out this link below to see where your state is in the regulation of tanning salons.
At What Age Can You Use A Tanning Bed?
So, at what age is it legal to use a tanning bed? 30 states currently regular the practice of allowing teens to tan at the age of 18.
However, no state completely prohibits such use for all children under age 18.
American Medical Association has this statement about kids and tanning salons: ( I have done limited editing of this statement to make it easier to read. Sometimes the terminology used is a bit confusing)
Indoor Tanning Restrictions For Minors
The hazardous (dangerous) effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation are undisputable: Skin Cancer formation, premature aging of the skin, cataract formation, and damage to the immune system.
As well as the photosensitizing reaction when using various drugs before UV exposure, whether to the sun, or tanning bed.
UV exposure also is causing or aggravates certain systemic diseases.
In fact, the toxic effects of excessive exposure to UV tanning bed radiation were confirmed recently when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) re-categorized tanning bed radiation as Category I “carcinogenic to humans.”
This places tanning bed radiation in the same category, like tobacco, tobacco smoking, mustard gas, and plutonium among other carcinogenic agents.
The FDA and the World Health Organization
The Food and Drug Administration has ruled that tanning rays are carcinogenic agents and the World Health Organization has recommended that no one under the age of 18 use tanning beds and sunlamps.
Despite the evidence about the hazards of indoor tanning, thirty million Americans visit tanning salons each year, and more than a million Americans use indoor salons every day.
Indoor tanning has been associated with a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
More alarmingly, the use of indoor tanning beds is extremely common among teenage girls and young women.
The Archives Of Dermatology Study
In a study, The Archives of Dermatology was concerned by the large number of people tanning indoors in the past year. Many experts believe this is why skin cancer is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25 to 29 years old, and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15 to 29 years old.
The new research published in the Archives of Dermatology shows teenagers have alarming access to artificial UV radiation even in states with parental consent and accompaniment restrictions.
This study adds to the mountain of evidence that indoor tanning should be restricted for those under 18 years of age. Regardless of the current parental consent and accompanying restrictions in some states.
This study also shows that young people have alarming access to artificial UV radiation, more than double the FDA’s recommended limit for first-week frequency. There seems to be little standing in the way when an underage tanner decides to get a tan in a tanning salon.
This makes us all understand that it is difficult to restrict underage kids from getting access to tanning facilities.
The obvious way to help in getting the skin cancer numbers down is to educate.
To help teens in this age group who are so vernable to peer pressure understand how dangerous tanning beds really are.
15 Year Old In Tanning Salon?
The American Academy Of Pediatrics tells us that “Tanning beds should be outlawed for children and teenagers.”
This same group of concerned medical community members informs us that exposure to the artificial ultraviolet light used in tanning beds will increase the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers.
This is a similar problem to keeping those too young from buying cigarettes or liquor. These illegal products are remarkably easy for a determined teen to access. In the same way, illegal tanning booth sessions will be acquired by those determined to do so.
Education is where the change will come from. Expecting self-regulation of the tanning salons would help, but the real control comes from the underage group knowing better.
No 15-year-old teen should be tanning in tanning beds. They need to be protecting themselves when out in the direct sun with sun blocking clothing and sunscreen. Understanding the dangers will make a difference.
Your 15-year-old will make some changes. Support those changes with changes for the family. Make it easier for your teen to take better care of their skin.
2O Minutes In The Sun Or 20 Minutes In A Tanning Bed?
Have you heard that it really doesn’t matter where you get your tan? 20 minutes in the tanning bed or 20 minutes in the sun are all the same.
Don’t fall for the tanning bed myths!
20 minutes may equal 2 hours in the direct sun between the hours of 10 PM and 4 PM! The most direct and dangerous sun-times we have. Most people don’t even put on sunscreen for this session. If you were in the sun, you would at least apply sunscreen! You might have on your sun hat.
Science keeps telling us that tanning beds, tanning booths, or sun lamps are dangerous for your skin health. Your skin is the “sock” that keeps you together. If there are worn or damaged spots in the material, the sock is made of, how safe can it keep you?
Remember it only takes 1 indoor tanning session to increase your risk of developing skin cancer. I tanning bed session can increase your chances for melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67%, and basal cell carcinoma by 29%!
Part of the reason tanning beds are more dangerous is that regulating the strength of the rays the tanning beds use is difficult. There can be several differences in the tanning beds’ light bulbs, and the strength of the rays emitted. This is why 20 minutes can equal 2 hours in the sun.
This makes the regulating of the industry more difficult as well. Yout teens may think they are safe when the opposite is true. That is why parents have to be proactive in this process. Tanning sessions may be inexpensive, but they are not free. How do your teens afford this?
More False Statements About Tanning Salons
You may understand that science does not support the safety of tanning beds. And you know it is not safer to get your tan in the tanning salon than from the sun. How to help your teens understand?
Education is the one thing that can change your teen’s mind about tanning.
One of the troubling results of tanning is that teens are so vernable and tanning addiction is a real thing. Addicts usually start the habit when they are in their early to mid-teens. This is a time when our teens are subject to their peer’s opinions and feel a lack of self-confidence.
By exposing themselves to too much sun or to tanning sessions, they’re doing early damage to their skin that can’t be undone. It is long-term damage. Be aware, that tanning is an addiction!
Your teen may have heard that by getting a base tan, they will avoid sunburn on vacation. This is not true. It may take a few more minutes if you have a little tan to start with. It may take 40 or 50 minutes to sunburn if you are as medium-fair as I am. You will be guaranteed more freckles! My face shows the sun minutes with a liberal sprinkle of freckles.
Is It Too Late To Stop Tanning?
It is never too late to stop tanning! Stop burning your skin in tanning beds or with the sun! Start covering your skin and protecting yourself.
Just as my older daughter told me when she was younger. “Aw, Mom. By the time I get old enough to care about my skin looking old, they will know how to make new skin.”
Well, she is old enough and she cares about how her skin looks. They can’t make new skin!
The cost of taking care of sun damage to your skin is mind-boggling. Then there is the time required to do the in-salon procedures! And remember to add the daily routines. That is enough to make you think again about tanning salons, as well as natural tanning.
Even with a lifetime of excess UV exposure, people can still reduce their risk by starting to practice better skin protection today. It’s not only cumulative exposure but current exposure that increases one’s risk. Maybe you haven’t used all your free passes and haven’t damaged your skin too much.
Are Tanning Beds Really Worse Than The Sun?
Tanning beds can produce 100 times higher Ultra Violet levels of intensity than you would get from the sun. This can severely damage the external and internal structures of your eyes and eyelids than you would get from the sun. This report from the American Academy Of Ophthalmology states in 2020.
With so many gyms having tanning beds, the location of the tanning salon may surprise you. The feeling that each man for himself may be ok for adults. This is not so good for teens and younger adults.
We all know that growing up is hard to do. Our kids just don’t have the ability yet, to make informed decisions. Tanning may seem to be a petty little thing compared to all the other things out there to worry about with our teen girls.
Tanning is an addiction. I can often be a crutch for your teen’s self-confidence. We all want to help our teens be more confident.
The desire to help your teen with confidence can mislead you as well. I know that sometimes I found it hard to be firm on decisions “when everybody else was doing it!” I didn’t know that tanning was one I should have been stronger on. You know.
Watch for issues with your teen girls and tanning. Is one of her friends also a tanner? Look for the signs.
How Long Do Spray-On Tans Last?
Sometimes, considering an alternative way to tan can be a way to help your teens to change how they tan. Some spray-on tan salons offer the skin prep part of helping a spray-on tan last longer. So know what you are shopping for with this service.
So. how long do spray tans last? The medical profession tells us that the spray-on tan will usually last 7-10 days. Spray-on tanning services will tell you a bit longer, more like 14 days.
A quick explanation about why they go so quick? Your skin is constantly creating new skin cells. On the top level, where a spray-on tan is, our skin is constantly renewing itself.
Because of this constant skin cell production, your tan could fade more quickly. All too often we are unaware of how quickly this turnover of our skin is happening. If you just want a light tan, it may fade quicker.
To get this or any other kind of tan to last longer, exfoliation is very important. If you can get a spray tan that includes the exfoliation service, that should last longer. The hangup here is usually the cost.
Several days before you plan to tan, start a good DIY exfoliation program. Don’t use chemical exfoliators as they may leave your skin sensitive for the tanning process. By starting several days ahead, you have time to get more of the built-up dead skin cells removed.
If your teen decides this is important for her for prom or another special occasion, help her to understand the need for preparation. These are treatments that require time. Moisturizing their skin between exfoliations is important.
The Elephant In The Room With Tanning Salons? Skin Cancer Risks
The risk of skin cancer is the primary reason why using tanning beds are such a danger. Research is repeatedly showing that melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer is showing up on tanning bed users.
Tanning beds increase the risk of all forms of skin cancer. Melanoma is harder to find, and often on the back or other parts of the body that are hard to spot.
Premature Aging Reality
Premature aging can be caused by tanning beds.
Through frequent UV exposure, the skin can become wrinkled, and appear to have a leather-like texture. Those things can be treated some, but when the elasticity is gone, that may take surgery to correct. And besides being expensive, the results aren’t all that predictable.
Unfortunately, human skin isn’t very forgiving when damaged by UV exposure and it can only be partially corrected by cosmetic surgery. Men and women who tan regularly, either in tanning beds or outdoors, can look much older than their peers of the same age who don’t tan.
You may be able to treat your face some after you have had too much sun, but what about your hands? Your body? Wrinkly loose skin on your arms and legs?
The False Claims Of A Beneficial Base Tan
It is a common myth that getting a “base tan” before going on vacation will protect you from sunburn. When you hear the testaments of travelers who frequent tropical destinations, they may sound convincing.
However, they are more likely due to diligent sunscreen use rather than any pre-established tan. The fear of getting a sunburn is a great motivator for remembering your sunscreen and being more faithful about applying that sunscreen.
The American Academy of Dermatology points out that tans are actually evidence of skin damage caused by UV ray exposure, whether it’s artificial or natural.
People often find that when they are trying to establish a base tan to protect their skin, they are actually doing more harm than good. Surprise sunburns are often the result of their misplaced confidence.
Sun Blocking Clothing Is Proven Protection
To avoid sunburn, it’s a better idea to practice sun safety habits. Habits that have been proven effective in protecting the skin.
Your primary line of defense is to cover your skin when outdoors.
Wear sunglasses that have an oversized lens or a wrap-around style that fits close to your face. Wear a sun hat with a brim to protect your face, ears, neck, and nose. Put on your long sleeve a loose-fitting shirt. Then add sunscreen to all areas not covered.
Remember to apply it frequently. And as far as using a tanning bed goes, avoid it entirely.
So our sun-savvy tips include:
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face.
- Cover areas of exposed skin when you’re outdoors.
- Wear clothing with built-in SPF.
- Stay in the shade by sitting under an umbrella, awning, or other shady areas.
- Avoid midday sun when the UV rays are more intense.
- Wear UV-protective sunglasses to shield your eyes.
- Sunscreen that is a wide spectrum, as well as at least an SPF of 30.
- Stay hydrated. Be careful with young children and senior adults when in the sun. Hopefully, seniors aren’t in the market for tanning beds tans.
Sami’s Take On Teen Girls And Tanning Salons
While I continue to be surprised at the numbers of tanning bed users who are still active tanners, it is too bad that the regrets are too late. However, guess that is why they are called regrets.
When our kids begin to do things in their lives that we know as parents are not positive for their future, it is only normal to be concerned.
These same young people may well be the same ones who claim to be vegetarian. So many things they make a stand on, but that self-confidence that comes with a tan. A tan that is so harmful to their skin. It just takes longer for some teens to really get the message.
Being aware of some of the symptoms can help you help your teen make better decisions. They are so young. They think that when the tan disappears, so do the risks. Help them understand that this may not be true.
Thank you for reading my effort to help another family avoid the skin cancer my family is living through.
Even if you can’t stop all the dangers your teens are faced with, do what you can. Don’t turn a blind eye to what is happening.