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2 Lies That Can Cause Your Child to Develop Skin Cancer in Their Twenties

Tim Boyer's picture
Tanning salon poses skin cancer risk

Recently published research from a medical study shows that over half of the tanning salons surveyed in a Midwestern state not only allows children ages 10 to 12 years old to use their tanning beds, but also promotes two lies that can cause a child to develop the skin cancer melanoma by the time he or she reaches their twenties.

An article published in the medical journal Pediatrics reports this disturbing finding from a survey given to 243 tanning-facility operators in the state of Missouri—one of 17 states where there are no minimum tanning bed use restrictions or requirement for parental consent.

Furthermore, many of these tanning salons were discovered to be perpetuating two lies that would influence a child’s and his or her parent’s opinion on the safety of using a tanning facility:

(1) That building a tan will prevent future sunburns and thereby lessen their risk of skin cancer.

(2) That there are no associated risks with indoor tanning

According to a press release issued by Washington University, study co-author Lynn Cornelius, M.D., chief of the Division of Dermatology states that, "This should serve as a wake-up call for parents in Missouri and other states that don't regulate tanning beds," says Dr. Cornelius. "With the absence of logical age restrictions, we are failing to protect our children, who are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer when exposed to the high-intensity levels of ultraviolet light that can be received in a tanning bed."

Of an identified 831 indoor tanning facilities in Missouri, 375 were randomly selected for data collection using surveys and interviews. Of the 375 selected, 243 provided completed data that was used in the study’s analysis. What the researchers gleaned from the data was that on average:

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• 65% of the 243 tanning-facility operators would allow children as young as 10 or 12 years old to use indoor-tanning devices.

• 80% claimed that indoor tanning would prevent future sunburns.

• 43% claimed that there were no risks associated with indoor tanning.

This is in spite of growing evidence that there is increasing evidence that UV radiation exposure from indoor-tanning devices is associated with skin cancer, ocular damage, and premature photo-aging, of which customers should be cautioned about according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines on tanning beds.

Other reports of the dangers of UV radiation from tanning beds state that users are 75% more likely to develop melanoma than nonusers. The risk of development of non-melanoma skin cancers―such as squamous and basal cell carcinomas―increases by 2.5 times in users of tanning beds.

According to the press release, Dr. Cornelius sees the results of indoor tanning bed skin damage in young female patients with a history of tanning bed use―many of who could develop melanoma as early as their 20s.

"Indoor tanning may seem innocuous at first," she says. "Due to what is called 'tumor lag time,' or the time between an exposure to a carcinogen such as ultraviolet and the development of a cancer. It may take a decade or longer for someone who has been exposed to artificial ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds to develop a skin cancer."

The conclusion of the study is that despite studied health risks associated with tanning facilities, of those surveyed in Missouri, customers were often misinformed regarding the risks and the lack of proven health benefits from indoor tanning.

Reference: “Practices of Unregulated Tanning Facilities in Missouri: Implications for Statewide Legislation” Pediatrics (Published online February 25, 2013); Brundha Balaraman, M.D. et al.



First of all, a base tan DOES prevent burning. I am living proof of that. I was never able to be out in the sun for more than 10 minutes without burning last year. Since then I have acquired a base tan through moderate, conservative, and responsible tanning in a salon. I was closely monitored and worked with the professional salon to determine my skin type and get a controlled schedule of UV exposure in order to raise my Vitamin D level. I succeeded in raising my Vitamin D level by the way, from 11ng/ml (dangerously low) to a 75ng/ml in just a few months, without supplements. I can now go outdoors for hours without burning thanks to my base tan protecting me. This is the first time in my life I have had this occur. Don't tell me a base tan doesn't protect me from sunburn, I've lived it, I know better. Secondly, this data was gathered in 2007 from PHONE INTERVIEWS. This does not translate to how a salon would actually handle a client, it is just answering general questions. Once an underage client comes into a salon, they would have to fill out paperwork, have a parent's consent, and go through an initial assessment of skin type. This is ridiculous to bring up phone conversations as if the client was in the facility. That is like a person calling a gym for general information, and getting a lecture on how exercise should be approved by a doctor before getting information on prices and services offered. Third, doing a bit of research on this, I have found that the places involved in this phone survey were not all professional salons. Around 40 percent that made up these numbers were places that offered tanning beds (i.e. gyms and other facilities) that are no longer in business. A professional salon would ensure that the client has the proper permission if they are under 18 and that the safest procedures are in place for UV exposure.
Even WHO has concluded (in the same report that classified sunlight as a carcinogen) that "Chronic exposure, as assessed through occupational exposure, appeared to reduce melanoma risk in three of the large studies, particularly in men; this observation is consistent with the descriptive epidemiology of the condition, which shows lower risks in groups that work outdoors.". The build-up of melanin by indoor tanning is definitely protecting towards sunburn and without sunburn, no increased risk of skin-damage. In fact, and given the new discoveries of the health benefits of vitamin D, indoor tanning is a threat towards the established "cancer-industry" and their trillion of dollars yearly revenues. Just imagine if it would become common knowledge that 10-20 minutes (depending on skin-type) in a sunbed 2 or 3 times a week would be able to reduce the risk for all cancers (inclusive skin-), cardiac-vascular diseases, influenza and other common ailments with as much as 50% and also be a better cure than any chemo-therapy can show. There is a lot of money (not to speak about prestige) invested in "traditional" health-care. Still, sunlight was the "traditional" cure for humans for more than two million years until it suddenly became dangerous just some 30 years ago. Get the full picture about the reasons behind an article like this by Google: "Melanoma marketing"