Hat’s off to the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Go With Your Own Glow ad campaign.
One of the Foundation’s aims is to shed light on the dangers of indoor tanning—an activity that many people, especially teens, brush aside as harmless. The numbers tell a different story.
The stats on teenagers getting skin cancer from indoor tanning are alarming. Two to three million American teens tan indoors every year. Most of them—more than 70 percent—are female. Indoor tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. Even people who tan indoors just four times a year increase their risk of getting certain cancers by 15 percent. Those are losing numbers.
Now that it’s fall, some people may be tempted to visit a tanning salon for a little zap of color. Some may even feel that it relieves their Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder that occurs most often in the fall when the number of daylight hours plummets. But there are healthier ways to get enough vitamin D—“the sunshine vitamin”—and other nutrients that may help improve mood. Milk and juice fortified with vitamin D are good options as are supplements. Oily fish such as salmon and sardines provide both vitamin D and essential omegas.
Parents who are trying to convey to their teens just how dangerous indoor tanning is should have their kids check out the true stories told by former teen tanners who are now melanoma patients.