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“A regular skin checkup can literally save your life.” Jennifer Krasnoff, MD

California’s tanning booth ban is the right idea. Help your kids and young adults to say no to the glow.

A suntan is never a good thing. An ‘instant glow’ from a tanning booth or bed may be even worse. Indoor tanning increases the risk of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, the most deadly form of the disease. And the risk is even greater for teens and young adults. The US Dept. of Health and Human Services and World Health Organization (WHO) has declared UV radiation from the sun and from artificial sources such as tanning beds and sun lamps a known carcinogen (cancer causing substance).

Tanning salons advertising instantly ‘healthy,’ sun-kissed color hold a strong appeal for an age group that tends to put appearance before health concerns. Nearly 70 percent of tanning salon customers are Caucasian girls and women, primarily aged 16 – 29 years. Of the nearly 28 million people in the US who tan indoors annually, 2.3 million are teens.

In October, 2011, California became the first state in the nation to prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from using ultraviolet tanning devices. However, this ban does not apply to young adults 21 and over; and studies suggest that young adults may not be taking the risk seriously enough.

At Dermatology Associates, we see patients using tanning salons throughout the year. And while thankfully, there are fewer young adults using tanning salons as compared with previous years, sun damage is quite prevalent, even in young people. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, melanoma is the second most common cancer in women ages 20-29.

Deceptive practices
A recent National Cancer Institute (NCI) study investigating 3,600 tanning facilities nationwide found that fewer than 11 percent followed the FDA’s recommended exposure schedule of three or fewer sessions a week. About 71 percent said they would allow a teen to tan seven days the first week, and many promoted “unlimited tanning” discount price packages.

Some salons even try to promote indoor tanning as a ‘health benefit’ that satisfies vitamin D requirements. (Vitamin D is important to our
health– but it can be consumed far more safely through diet or vitamin supplementation.)

Worse than a day at the beach
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), indoor tanning salons use equipment that emits UVA radiation in concentrations that may be greater than the dosage one gets from the sun. Despite some claims to the contrary, tanning lamps may also emit UVB rays.

These dangerous dosages of UVA and UVB cause aging and wrinkling, sunburn cataracts, immune system damage and of course, skin cancer. Studies have found a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning; and the risk increases with each use.

Perhaps most scorching, however, is the NCI finding that in states without bans, many teens are tanning because their parents are
providing written consent or accompanying teens into tanning salons.

Development of cancer is a long process that may take decades. It  is vital that parents step in now to educate and protect our teenagers and young adults so that they don’t suffer consequences years down the line.

Read the American Academy of Dermatology’s indoor tanning fact sheet (and share it with your kids!)

Share educational articles about sun safety with your kids at


Download the PDF here.





Petaluma Office
165 Lynch Creek Way
Petaluma, CA 94954
 M-F, 8:00am-5:00pm
(707) 762-5531
Fax: (707) 762-5976



Hercules Office
500 Alfred Nobel Dr., Ste. 245
Hercules, CA 94547
M-F, 8:00am-5:00pm
Open Saturday for aesthetic services
 (510) 741-7418
Fax: (510) 741-7456


Billing office
Fax: 510- 741-7493

At Dermatology Associates of the Bay Area, our board-certified dermatologists serve patients at our Petaluma and Hercules offices. We are committed to the highest standards, and we offer a full range of cosmetic, medical, and surgical dermatology procedures, as well as quality skin care products.

Dermatology Associates of the Bay Area
165 Lynch Creek Way | Petaluma, California 94954 | Phone: (707) 762-5531 | Fax: (707) 762-5976
500 Alfred Nobel Drive, Suite 245 | Hercules, California 94547 | Phone: (510) 741-7418 | Fax: (510) 741-7456