Indoor Tanners, Beware

Your life may depend on it


Whether you say it’s to “get ready” for summer or to protect your skin for a tropical vacation, do not pursue that “base tan” from a tanning salon.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) warns that exposure to artificially manufactured ultraviolet (UV) rays may pose risks beyond what exposure or overexposure to natural sunlight does.

The American Academy of Dermatology warns that people who tan indoors are 75 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. This is not a rare cancer. It afflicts 75,000 people every year in the U.S.

And, the Academy says, the risk of developing skin cancer increases each time you tan under a sunlamp. This may be because, as the journal Pediatrics notes, the UV radiation emitted by sunlamps can be 10 to 15 times that found of the midday sun.

To protect consumers, the FDA is seeking to reclassify the tanning lamp units from Class I to Class II medical devices giving it more authority to regulate them and add labels that warn children under age 18 not to use them.