Your Teen And Tanning Beds, do you know if your teen is speeding up their summertime skin color?
Are your teens and tanning beds old friends? Have you been busy with the day-to-day whirl of activities that go with maintaining a household, and not as aware of your “responsible” teens coming and going as you thought?
This is not a finger-pointing search. This is an awareness check. Do you know if your teen has been going to the tanning salon all along?
One deterrent is often the price of the tanning sessions. They are not really expensive, but they are not free. Teens are often managing more of their discretionary income than in the earlier years. This is also part of parenting, helping your teen manage their money.
Often by the time teens are in their late teens they are dating, and the person they are dating can have a big influence on their activities. If that person has access to more money than your teen, they may offer to pay the tanning fee “so they can both be tan!’
These kids still need guidance in their lives if they are tanning. The decision they make to get a tan is a long-term decision based on a short-term result. That tan will only last weeks. The damage? A lifetime!
What Is The Age Group Of A Tanning Salon’s Client
According to ScienceDirect.com, it is not a secret that using tanning beds is associated with very substantial health consequences. However, the age group of 16 to 29 seems to be the most at risk with their tanning behavior.
The majority are young white women. About 2/3 more female than male. If you have a child in this age group, please be alert to unexplained tanning of their skin.
And of course, the increase in the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers. Reader, melanoma is real the link above can give you some idea of the risk factors.
Unfortunately, many people continue to use tanning beds even though they know of the high risk. Minors are among these users who just seem to be determined to self-destruct.
This is the same time these same teens and young adults are facing lots of other behavior challenges as they grow up and mature. This can be a time of tanning addiction in your child’s life. Unlike other addictions, damage from UV radiation does not repair itself.
Can A Parent Get Some Help With Some Government Regulation?
Some help was started, but we aren’t finished yet. The government moves slowly. In my years of being a parent of a family with high skin cancer risks, I see the lifestyle that can develop with careless sun safety habits.
I also see how skin cancer has shown up in my adult children. How many times they have had treatment for skin cancer. So far, non for any skin cancer patches that couldn’t be healed. However, they are still young.
According to SkinCancer.com the results usually show up by the time you are 70 years old. Well, none of my kids are that old yet. However, they have surely had their skin cancer issues.
In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tried to make the United States one of the countries in the world that would protect its younger residents.
They submitted regulations to ban anyone under the age of 21 from being able to use tanning salons. Unfortunately, the proposed rule has still not been finalized.
So, like many other regulatory issues, who can or can’t use tanning salons is still left to state and local governments to decide. To date, 42 states and the District of Columbia either ban or regulate indoor tanning by minors. The age at which it is legal to allow a client to use tanning beds is 21. They should have to prove they are 21.
And we all know our kids never have fake IDs! If there was an age question, the kids are ready with the IDs. The ones they use to get into bars with!
Why Those Teens And Young Adults Continue Risky Tanning Bed Use
In an effort to understand the reasons for use of indoor tanning beds and how users reach the decision that this is OK, a study was done.
Participants in the study were required to be current indoor tanners. The youngest in the study were 18 years through 29 years old. All were recruited online.
ScienceDirect.com reports these findings as to the result of this study. This was done in England, and from a small number in the study. However, the results seem to explain some of the driving factors behind the decisions to ignore the warnings and tan.
This research is based on understanding how outside factors affect our kids.
Reasons Some Think Having A Tan Is Important Enough To Risk Skin Cancer
Of the reasons being used for continuing to tan, these 6 reasons were the most common:
Denial of health risks
Improving physical health
Alternatives don’t meet the psychological needs
Nor do alternatives meet their physical needs
A real understanding of the side-effects of tanning not present
When answering the questions about why they used indoor tanning devices:
Improving their self-esteem, as they thought tan skin is more attractive than natural skin. They also thought they could prevent sun damage to their skin by getting a ‘base tan’.
Unfortunately, a base tan is no real benefit to your skin. You can still sunburn if you do not protect your skin with sun blocking clothing and sunscreen.
Other participants appeared to justify their use of tanning beds by responding defensively. This was deemed to be an effort to avoid accepting they were at risk.
These participants were exaggerating the benefits of indoor tanning, as well. All the while they were discounting alternatives to indoor tanning.
Any alternative to indoor tanning was perceived as risky for their health. These alternative ways to tan were also considered inadequate to provide the desired results, making another way of tanning incapable of meeting their personal self-esteem needs. Not always a clear explanation of why.
How To Help Lower Indoor Tanning Use
The need to increase sources of improving self-esteem besides just concentrating on appearance became very apparent.
This study was done to try to measure the effects social media has on our kids. Each year that goes by increases the power social media has. Power over how our young adults feel about themselves.
The fact that tanning behavior is obviously a mental thing, not just physical makes it difficult to successfully limit. Becoming aware, as a parent or concerned friend is the first step.
Some Actions Being Taken To Keep Our Kids Safe
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.stated, “It’s time we started treating tanning beds just like they are cigarettes. They are carcinogen delivery systems.” at a May 20 Capitol Hill briefing about the dangers of indoor tanning for our kids.
“We don’t allow our children to buy cigarettes, yet the tanning industry continues to target adolescent girls. And this is not unlike what we found with the tobacco industry,” states Rep. DeLauro.
Also brought to the attention of the briefing attendees, young women may have vague ideas about the associated risks. However, tanning beds are widely available at such low costs that their use is still widespread.
This tanning bed use is contributing to the rising numbers of the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma.
Rep. DeLauro is pushing for a national ban on the use of tanning beds by minors younger than 18.
While this is not a nationwide age limit, it is a start for awareness. Causing more states to realize they have responsibilities for their citizens as well. States can move faster than the US government can in regulating the use of tanning beds.
A Reminder About Why We Shouldn’t Tan
Skin cancer is the first reason you should not tan. The other thing that happens when you tan is your skin is being aged. Aged with no reversal.
Remember, I have had teens, 3 of my own, plus the “villages” where we lived were well supplied with buddies for them. I am an advocate of it fact that it takes a village to raise a kid. If you question your fellow villeage people’s ideas, I hope you at least have a family to help.
The National Cancer Institute tells us that Melanoma is the most common form of cancer among people between 25 and 29. Melanoma is the most deadly of the skin cancers.
With just one indoor tanning session increaseing your chances of developing melanoma by 20 percent compared with that of someone who has never tanned indoors.
When you choose to use tanning beds 10 or more times in your lifetime, you have a 34 percent increased chance of melanoma. This is when compared with people who have never had tanning bed exposure.
A Quick Look At The Tanning Bed Industry
The whole tanning bed industry trys to minimize these findings. Their spokesperson, Joe Levy, scientific adviser for the American Suntanning Association, says that the numbers aren’t entirely correct.
They claim that the numbers do not represent just tanning salons. This gives a wrong tally to use in figuring out how to regulate this industry.
As no industry wants regulation, it is easy to see why this claims of false information are used.
Despite the claims by the industry of wrong information, the Food and Drug Administration mandated clear labels informing the customer of the dangersof using the tanning beds. And the risks.
Some medical groups, including the American Academy of Dermatology, have for years warned about the use of tanning beds.
We have 43 states have laws either banning tanning-bed use by young people or requiring parental signatures. The problem? Kids using fake ID’s. The tanning salon has done all they are required to do.
Another Practice Brought To Light
Public health advocates claim that the availability of tanning beds near college campuses goes as it always has, full force ahead.
The marketing that is aimed toward young people continues to go unchecked. There simply must be more regulation. We need help protecting out kids from themselves when they are so young.
Tanning salons are under attack:
They have gotten taxed by the health law:
( A business that is offering indoor tanning services are required to collect a 10 percent excise tax on the indoor tanning services they provide. The provider must pay the excise tax to the government, quarterly, along with IRS Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return.)
Tanning Salons do have some new regulations by the federal government and states. There is little supervision to make the regulations a part of daily business.
These salons have become dermatologists’ favorite bad guy.
Using the increase of marketing to young people as cause, some policymakers say that’s just not enough.
With rising skin cancer rates these public health advocates want new national restrictions regarding who can get their indoor tan.
Some Surprising Results
In 2014 the Journal Of American Medical Association released a study of 125 top colleges that found 48 percent of the colleges had tanning facilities.
These tanning facilities were either on campus or in off-campus housing. About 15 percent of these tanning facilities allowed campus cash cards to be used to pay for indoor tanning. There was no supervision of who was using the tanning beds.
College Students Are The Target Client
There have also been questions about the lack supervision to ensure students who were using the tanning beds were older than age 18, according to Sherry Pagoto, associate professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, who spoke at the briefing.
“Indoor tanning companies are finding young women in these settings and locating themselves near schools,” Sherry Pagotom, associate professor of medicine At The University Of Maxxachuttes Medical School pointed out.
Ms. Pagontom also said, “Companies like Sun Tan City, with 250 salons mostly in Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states, give money to sponsor football games, expand stadiums and provide free tanning to cheerleaders.”
“They’re finding ways to become part of university life, one way or another.”
Working On Plugging Holes In Safety Net
Executive director of the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Congressional Families program, Lisa McGrovern, said her group is working on a grassroots campaign to reverse this trend.
They are working to get colleges to discontinue allowing students to pay for tanning with college debit cards.
We have a couple of Universities agreeing, and if we keep working, others will follow, Rep. DeLauro said.
Parents need to know about any tanning facilities that offer free tanning sessions to their kids in college. Or letting the student pay with a debit card.
The Story Of Too Many Of Us From Our Teen Years
Using any and all occasions to tan. Sitting outside on the rock wall, with our legs stretched out in ths sun. Wanting that magic tan! Using baby oil with idoine as our tanning lotion! We didn’t consider something to protect our skin, we wanted to be TAN.
We didn’t know about skin cancer, and may not have listened to the warnings! Just like kids today.
I wanted to be golden brown like the girls I saw in magazines and movies, so I’d put on my swimsuit and stretched out in the hot sun. We were serious about wanting a tan.
We just didn’t really know how to get a safe tan. I remember spending hours in our yard. With sweat rolling off me. Beeing proud of the angry, red sunburn. We rubbed on the baby oil. This is what we wanted, sunburn!
We knew that once the sunburn healed up, we would have some tan! We would be beautiful just like those kids in the movies. I lived on a cotton farm in the lower southern part of the North Plains. We had dial controlled TV. No access to U Tube to help us safely tan.
We didn’t know about skin damage, and it probably would have affected us little in our decisions. Our parents told us that we couldn’t lay out anymore. They told us that this was not safe. But who listens to parents? Especially when you are a young adult.
We didn’t know about SPF clothing, sun blocking hats and shirts, sunscreen.
Why Do I Have To Be 18 To Use A Tanning Bed?
Actually you should be 30 years old to use a tanning bed. If this is still a healthy practice in your mind when you are 30, you should be able to use the tanning bed!
Any thing as tied to your emotional maturity as using a tanning bed, calls out for more maturity. Something that seems so important as to cause you to take chances with your skin makes no difficult to accept.
The very nature of the tanning industry is subtle and creeps in places we don’t realize. We don’t know why we are so obsessed with wanting a tan.
This is why a late teen or young adult finds themselves addicted. Addited to tanning.
Are Tanning Beds Safe In Moderation?
Tanning in a tanning bed exposes you to a more intense kind of Ultra Violet Radiation. The only time tanning bed use is safe is under a Doctors supervision.
The issue with treating yourself, away from the supervision of your Doctor is that lack of standerazations with the various brands and makes of tanning beds.
In a Doctors office, and in a medical setting, the strength of the wave lengths and time your skin is exposed to the light are closely controlled. Getting this kind of control is the salon setting is difficult.
Getting your light therapy naturally if you can’t get in to your Doctors office may be a better choice for you.
Used as treatment, not to specifically get a tan may be a good trade off for you and your skin issue. This should be decided with your Doctors help.
So, under a Doctors supervision, research is agreeing that moderate sun bed use may be way to treat your skin. Getting a deep tan? Never good for anyone.
Sami’s Take On Your Teens and Tanning Beds
As a parent who survived 3 teens, and is now grading them on how they worked with protecting their skin from the sun, their grade is A-! They did great considering the lack of guidenence they had.
As a parent I did not know about protecting oneself from the sun. Like it our not, it is on my doorstep that they had so many hours in the sun with no skin protection.
We considered “sun tan lotions” a luxury that we couldn’t afford. Besides that, sun tan lotions were unimportant. You only used sun tan lotion to help get a tan. I don’t think that we started our water recreation time with the idea of getting a tan. We just wanted to water ski.
Being out in our RV and enjoying time with friends and family was the central interest. We just happend to get tan, and sunburned during the pursute of our fun.
You will never regret teaching your family to protect their skin. Helping them with the basics of a sun blocking clothng wardrobe. Times have changed. Getting a D- grade in helping your family protect their skin is not acceptable. That is what my grade is.
I can’t undo the damage to my families skin. But, hopefully reading this information about what your teens are facing out there in the world of tanning beds will alert you. Allow you to have a hand in keeping them safe from skin cancer.
The oppurtunities are there for them to make these decisions before they are really ready. Teens don’t want skin cancer when they schedule a tanning session. They want to look like their friends and influncers. Pay attention to your yourng adults and their skin color.