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The Dangers of Tanning

Melinda Taschetta-Millane July 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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Americans know better, yet they still insist on sun bathing and using tanning beds.

At the current rate, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), approximately 75% of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma, which has been on the rise for at least 30 years. “Exposure to UV radiation is the leading risk factor for skin cancer, yet—despite this knowledge—droves of teens and young women are flocking to tanning bed facilities, and beaches or pools to tan every year,” says Ronald L. Moy, MD, FAAD, president of the AAD. “The challenge is that teens have access to indoor tanning salons on almost every corner. A recent survey of 116 U.S. cities found an average of 42 tanning salons per city, which means tanning salons are more prevalent than Starbucks or McDonald’s. We are very concerned that this tanning behavior will lead to a continued increase in the incidence of skin cancer in young people and, ultimately, more untimely deaths from this devastating disease.”

In May’s Vocal Point online survey (, we asked our audience: What actions do you take in your community to raise awareness about the importance of sunscreen and the dangers of tanning? We received many insightful answers. Following are just a few.

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