Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Dark Side of Tanning

With warmer weather finally here, it’s only natural for young men and women to head to the beaches or their local swimming pools to catch a few hours of sunlight. Having tanned skin often goes hand-in-hand with feeling more attractive and confident.

However, these pool and beach ventures can pose a serious risk to your health. UV radiation exposure from indoor and outdoor tanning is the leading cause of skin cancer. Individuals who tan indoors increase their risk of melanoma by 75%. While skin cancer is a prominent side effect of tanning, other risks are likely, such as burns and injury to the skin, premature aging of the skin, and immune system suppression.

Despite the risks and potential impact that tanning indoors and/or outdoors can do to your skin and health, young women and teens continue to pursue the bronze glow. A recent study showed 86% of tanners recognize that tanning beds could lead to skin cancer.

So why do people continue to tan despite the many health risks that are associated with indoor and outdoor tanning? In a recent survey, 35% of respondents felt peer pressure to be tan. This pressure might arise more intensely when special events are approaching, such as graduation, prom, galas, and even bathing suit season.

It is important that teens understand there are healthy alternatives to tanning. Spray tans, sunless tanning lotions and gels are great alternatives to traditional tanning. These products contain the chemical DHA which acts as a safe tanning ingredient when applied externally on the skin.

Fighting the sunlight’s dangerous UV rays with healthy alternatives to tanning will provide your skin with a more youthful complexion. But most importantly, it will significantly decrease your chance of developing skin cancer.

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