Youth & Tanning
In Alberta, a 2012 study has found that over 30% of 17 year-old girls have used indoor tanning.10 This is a statistic that’s particularly alarming because younger skin is more susceptible to UV damage.11
Cool vs. Cancer.
Despite knowing the risks of artificial tanning, why do so many teenagers willingly increase their risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers? Well, here’s a few reasons:
- To look good
- To feel relaxed
- To prepare for a special occasion like graduation
- To get a base tan before going on a vacation
With everything from celebrities and magazines to youth-targeted tanning salon promotions convincing youth to go gold, many teens and young adults don’t consider the long term effects of tanning. Unfortunately, cool outweighs cancer.
It won’t happen to me syndrome.
While many teens are aware of the effects of overexposure to UV rays, they don’t see their trip to the tanning salon before graduation or vacation as dangerous. But, every trip adds up—any more than 10 tanning sessions can double your risk of Melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer.12
People can get up to half of their lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18-21.13 Add tanning beds to the equation, and that exposure is significantly increased with potentially fatal results. While most teens think “It won’t happen to me”, the sad truth is cancer is happening—melanoma is one of the most common cancers among people aged 15 to 29.14 And cancer will continue to happen, unless we do something.
10 Alberta Health Services, 2012 Youth intercept survey.
11 Autier P. Perspectives in melanoma prevention: the case of sunbeds. Eur J Cancer. 2004;40(16):2367–2376
12 Cust, A. E., Armstrong, B. K., Goumas, C., Jenkins, M. A., Schmid, H., Hopper, J. L., Kefford, R. F., Giles, G. G., Aitken, J. F. and Mann, G. J. (2011), Sunbed use during adolescence and early adulthood is associated with increased risk of early-onset melanoma. International Journal of Cancer, 128: 2425–2435.
13 Dadlani, C., & Orlow, S. J. (2008). Planning for a brighter future: A review of sun protection and barriers to behavioral change in children and adolescents. Dermatology Online Journal, 14(9), 1.
14Cancer Epidemiology in Older Adolescents & Young Adults. SEER AYA Monograph Pages 53-57. 2007.