Say No To Tanning Beds

Listen to this blog post!

All readers of this blog know, or should know, that I am a great advocate of sun protection. You may remember my previous blog posts “The Sun Is Not Your Friend” and “The Sun Is STILL Not Your Friend”. Even if you haven’t, you can tell just by the titles of these articles how I regard exposure of sunlight rays on the skin. However, I do recognize that some sun exposure is inevitable, and a limited amount of sun is healthy especially for vitamin D production in your body.

What really drives me crazy is when people intentionally expose themselves to harmful UV rays by way of a tanning salon. “I just wanted to get some color” and “I just wanted a healthy glow” are common comments. My response is simple: TANNING BEDS ARE NOT HEALTHY!

A recent report in a prominent oncology journal reported that the risk of developing the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma, is increased 75% when a person has had exposure to tanning beds before the age of 30. This is something to think about when you see the teenagers walking into tanning salons for “some color” before their proms or senior pictures. In fact, the FDA advises and many states require parental consent before teenagers are allowed to use tanning beds.

More than 1 million cases are skin cancers will be diagnosed in the US in 2010, with the number increasing each year. Similar to the connection between lung cancer and smoking, we know the cause of these preventable cancers: exposure to UV rays. Such dangerous light comes from tanning devices and the sun.

If you really need “some color” or a “healthy glow”, use a sunless tanning or bronzing product. These products are predominantly vegetable dyes, are non-toxic and when professionally applied, and look very natural. While the color or glow will fade within several weeks with these products, you will not be left with the consequences of UV light exposure: permanent skin damage and increased risk of skin cancer. So in case you didn’t get the message the first time, JUST SAY NO TO TANNING BEDS!

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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