The Union Recorder

Columns

June 3, 2014

ORMC: The burning truth...

MILLEDGEVILLE — A lot of people believe indoor tanning is safe. The truth is, tanning beds injure thousands of people each year badly enough to go to a hospital, and that's just the beginning. People who indoor tan damage their skin, often getting wrinkles, warts, rashes, and dark spots. They may even get skin infections, cataracts in their eyes, and—most dangerous of all—skin cancer, including deadly melanoma.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and unlike almost all other kinds of cancer, the rates are climbing. This is definitely not a trend you want to follow. Avoiding indoor tanning and protecting yourself from the sun when outdoors are the best ways to reduce your chance of getting skin cancer.

The Centers for Disease Control's new Burning Truth communication initiative encourages Americans to keep their skin healthy and beautiful for life by protecting themselves from too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds.

In the United States, indoor tanning is estimated to cause about 419,000 cases of skin cancer every year. For comparison, smoking is thought to cause about 226,000 cases of lung cancer every year.

According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, the following proportions of youth report indoor tanning:

13% of all high school students

21% of high school girls

32% of girls in the 12th grade

29% of Caucasian high school girls

According to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, indoor tanners tended to be young, non-Hispanic white women.

Know the Burning Truth about these tanning myths:

A Base Tan Is Not a Safe Tan. There is a common misconception that a tan acts as the body's natural protection against sunburn. The Burning Truth: A tan is the body's response to injury from UV rays, showing that damage has been done. A "base tan" only provides a sun protection factor (SPF) of about 3 or less, which does little to protect you from future UV exposure.

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