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Teens Are Still Tanning

Posted May 06 2011 2:45pm
A new survey from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says that teen girls are still tanning, despite skin cancer warnings from doctors.

The AAD polled 3,800 white females between the ages of 14 and 22. Here are some key findings from the survey
  • 32% of respondents had used a tanning bed in the past year; of those, a quarter used a tanning bed at least once weekly.
  • 81% of respondents had tanned outdoors either frequently or occasionally in the past year.
  • 42% of indoor tanners are more concerned about wrinkles than non-indoor tanners; 28% of non-indoor tanners expressed such worries.
  • 87% of indoor tanners think people look more attractive with a tan.*    
Did you know?

Tanning beds are considered carcinogenic by the Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization.   According to the AAD, indoor tanning increases a person’s risk of melanoma by 75%.

Spray tans are considered a safe alternative to ultraviolet radiation. Don’t fear looking like an Orange Oompa-Loompa, spray tans done by professionals look like real tans.

Melanoma rates are increasing in young white women. If these rates don’t decline, the AAD predicts that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

From a Former Tanner
I started tanning just in time for the big homecoming dance. I had an out-of-town date. In a small town, that means you have a cool date because they are not from your small town. My friends told me to start small with just 3 minutes of tanning and before you know it, I was frying my skin for 15 minutes, three days a week, six weeks before the big occasion. I thought it was really cool that I could place a heart shaped sticker on my stomach while I tanned and the more I tanned the more pronounced the heart-shaped mark became. Let me tell you what… I looked H-O-T in my homecoming dress with my cool out-of-town date.

Here are the consequences to my actions that I am seeing three years later. YES, ONLY THREE YEARS LATER! I am 23 and I am now seeing the consequences to my actions.
  • I now wear bangs to hide the sun spots that are appearing on my forehead.
  • I have the beginnings of crow’s feet and forehead lines from frying my face in a tanning bed.
  • My shoulders that were once pure silky white skin now have red blotches with odd-shaped freckles that could potentially become skin cancer.
These signs are just the beginning of the issues that I will have with my skin as a result of tanning.
Was it worth it to look H-O-T in my homecoming dress with my cool out-of-town homecoming date? No.  And the out-of-town date ended up being a jerk. I could have spent my money on a one-time, quality spray tan and I still would have looked just as H-O-T.  And I wouldn't now be dealing with bangs, crow's feat, forehead lines and a serious likelihood of skin cancer at a young age.
(*Stats from WebMD article on survey.)
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