Memorial Day often marks the beginning of swimsuit season, summer barbecues and plenty of time in the sun. It also means making the extra effort to protect your skin when tanning – indoors or out.
A study out of Harvard Medical School concluded a 20-year study of 70,000 nurses and the impact of indoor tanning on the skin. The researchers found that the use of tanning beds increased the risk of developing all major forms of skin cancer, particularly in young women who made the practice a habit beginning in high school or college.
Other research has found that ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning far exceeds the amount sourced from midday sunlight in the summer, not to mention experts have found that indoor tanning is indeed addictive – highlighting the reward centers of the brain.
Most states require tanners to be 18 or older to tan, however children and teens need to be warned of the dangers of indoor tanning before the addiction can begin.
As for outdoor tanning, slather on the sunscreen. New FDA regulations are requiring sunscreen manufacturers to offer more detailed information about the protection actually offered in every bottle. Unfortunately, the changes won’t hit shelves until long after the summer sun has come and gone in many states. In the meantime, you can protect yourself by choosing a sunscreen marked as “broad spectrum,” which means it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Make sure you use SPF 30 or higher and reapply throughout the duration of sun exposure and following trips into the water.