tanning bed

Tanning beds on college campuses pose skin cancer risks.

Many parents may not realize that one of the advertised “perks” of some university housing is free access to tanning facilities, but students going after that extra glow in tanning beds could eventually find themselves face to face with a dangerous adversary: skin cancer.

A recent study published in JAMA Dermatology reveals that half of the tops 125 U.S. colleges and universities listed in U.S. News and World Report have indoor tanning facilities either on campus or in nearby residential areas that house students. While tobacco and alcohol are not allowable purchases on many campuses, the research revealed that 14 percent of those colleges allowed students to use campus cash to pay for indoor tanning, a known carcinogen.

Lured by the Lamp! What’s the real cancer risk? The American Academy of Dermatology already lists melanoma as the No.1 cancer among adults 25 to 29 and the incidence rate of this deadly form of skin cancer is on the rise. Indoor tanning can actually increase melanoma risk by 75 percent when tanning bed use starts before the age of 30 according to the International Agency for research on Cancer.

While the risks of indoor tanning have been well publicized in the media, many young adults continue to flock to indoor tanning booths to get their glow. With everything we know today about the high risk of skin cancer and UV damage from tanning, indoors and out, it’s just not worth the risk. If you have a teen headed off to college this fall, educate them so they aren’t tempted by the tanning bed craze. Make sure they know to always practice safe sun habits by applying a broad Spectrum sunscreen SPF 50,  to exposed skin and limiting their time under the sun’s risky UV rays.

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