It is a well established fact that youngsters who indulge in indoor tanning to flaunt a ‘healthy’ golden tan are exposing themselves to risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Unfortunately, too many young women continue to use sunbeds without fully appreciating the risks, finds an alarming new study.

According to a new report from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, artificial tanning techniques are quite rampant among white teenage girls, especially older teens.

Nearly 30 percent of white female high school girls use tanning beds, sunlamps or tanning booths and around 17 percent frequently embrace these artificial measure to acquire the bronze glow, finds the new report.

Co-author of the report Gery Guy Jr., PhD at the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control stated, “The high rates of indoor tanning among this population is very concerning. Indoor tanning has been associated with skin cancer, particularly melanoma. The risk is increased among younger users and those who use it frequently.”

Details of the report
To get some insight into the prevalence of indoor tanning among adolescent girls the researchers analyzed data of two surveys (2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey of high school students and the 2010 National Health Interview Survey for adults 18 through 34).

The study relied on self-reports of participants’ indoor tanning use. The analysis revealed 29.3 percent of white high school girls visited an indoor tanning parlor at least once within the last year, and close to 17 percent went “frequently”(at least 10 times in a 12-month period).

The rate increased with age. The report found 18 percent of 15-year-old white high school girls, 40 percent of 17-year-olds and 44 percent in the age bracket of 18 and older reportedly used tanning beds in the last year.

Additionally about 25 percent white women under age 35 engaged in artificial tanning at least once a year and 15 percent did so “frequently.” In contrast just 17 percent of women aged 30 to 34 indulged in any indoor tanning use in the last year.

Indoor tanning was most common in the Midwest and the South. The report found 30 to 34 percent adolescent girls and 25 to 28 percent young women (ages 18 to 34) had used sun beds to acquire a golden glow.

People who started indoor tanning before turning 35 elevated their risk of skin cancer by 75 percent as opposed to the ‘never users.’ Researchers theorize that people under 25 are more vulnerable to the dangers of UV radiation which is emitted more intensely from sunbeds than natural daylight.

“Reducing exposure to UV radiation from indoor tanning is an important strategy for reducing the burden of skin cancer,” the researchers said.

The new study is published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

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