FDA pushes to restrict teens from tan beds

By Amanda Hanson  - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Tanning beds causing skin cancer is nothing new.  Recently, there has been an increase of skin cases among females in their teens and early twenties.  In saying this, the deadliest form of skin cancer increases seventy-five percent for those who use tanning beds.

"Teens are higher risk for that because exposure earlier in life does carry higher risks.  For that there's a recent trend into FDA to now access the use of tanning beds for teens given this high risk to skin cancer," says Mazen Khalil, a Medical Oncologist with the Clopton Clinic.  This includes a possible ban for individuals under the age of eighteen, or requiring parental consent.

More than thirty states have already issued regulations for teens and tanning bed, but the FDA wants to make the requirement to apply nationally.  Khalil says that unfortunately many teens do not associate tanning beds with skin cancer, "you are exposing your skin to a ultra light that increases the pigmentation into the skin cells, and this pigmentation does increase the risks of skin cancer specifically melanoma."

Many tanning salons like to promote the fact that sun lamps are a good source of vitamin D, but Khalil says that is misstated, "I think there is a safer way to get vitamin D, which is appropriate sun exposure with appropriate hue of sun screen and dietary intake of vitamin D."

The bad part is most tanning salons target a younger audience.  "Teens probably use tanning beds more than any other age group and again you just have to educate people more provide them with information they need so that they understand that tanning beds are not safe haven," Khalil says.

There are safe ways to get the sun-kissed look.  "A safer way to tan is exposure to sunlight at the proper time, which is early in the morning before noon and late in the afternoon. Be sure always wear the proper hue of sunscreen.  This type of exposure to sunlight that will give you the tanning that you need and the beautiful look that you are looking for."  For a quick fix, tanning salons also offer spray tans.

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