Think Twice Before Tanning For Prom

NEW YORK, N.Y.—Nearly 2.3 million teenagers in the US tan indoors annually, and with prom season right around the corner, the temptation to tan is even greater. But new research has found that first exposure to ultraviolet (UV)-emitting tanning beds in youth increases the risk of developing melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, by 75 percent.

Recently the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), affiliated with the World Health Organization (WHO), moved tanning beds to its highest cancer risk category and labeled them as “carcinogenic to humans.” This ranking puts tanning beds alongside other cancer-causing agents, such as asbestos, arsenic and cigarettes.


“This new evidence substantiates what we’ve believed for years about the danger of indoor tanning,” said Perry Robins, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Prom can be one of the most important events in high school, but students should not risk their health for a tan, especially since the incidence of melanoma is rising in young women.”

On an average day, more than one million Americans use tanning salons, and 71 percent of tanning salon patrons are girls and women aged 16-29. Not only does tanning bed use greatly increase the risk of developing melanoma, but people who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, the two most common forms of skin cancer.

The mounting scientific evidence about the dangers of indoor tanning has reached the attention of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), prompting a hearing of the FDA’s Medical Devices Advisory Panel to discuss increasing tanning bed regulations. After four hours of testimony from the public and other advocacy organizations, the 16-member panel unanimously recommended that the FDA upgrade its classification of tanning devices, which could result in a ban on use for minors.

If the threat of developing skin cancer isn’t enough to scare teens away from tanning booths, they should know that 90 percent of visible skin changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by exposure to UV radiation.  Tanning accelerates the signs of aging, including wrinkles, leathering and fine lines, which can be seen as early as in one’s 20s. This is why celebrities such as Kristen Stewart, Amanda Seyfried, and Dakota Fanning never risk damaging their skin and can be seen flaunting their natural skin tone on the red carpet.

Sarah Brown, Vogue’s Beauty Director, states it best: “A healthy glow does not mean a tan. A healthy glow means your natural skin tone, glowing.”

To learn more beauty insider tips to get your skin looking gorgeous and healthy for prom night, visit .

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