With more than two million people being diagnosed with skin cancer annually and one in five Americans developing skin cancer in their lifetime, Amy Forman Taub, MD, board-certified dermatologist, founder of Advanced Dermatology in Lincolnshire, IL, and assistant clinical professor at Northwestern University, is setting out to lower those numbers. She’s on a mission to educate the members of the public on the healthy habits of caring for their skin and educating them on how to reduce their risk of skin cancer. One big step forward? Stop tanning.
This year, Taub and her team at Advanced Dermatology are again asking the public to take a “no tanning pledge.” Advanced Dermatology will travel throughout Cook County to collect signatures. Their goal is to collect 10,000 pledges from people making the promise that they won’t tan.
Why? Indoor tanning is associated with melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, damage to eyes and symptoms of premature skin aging, such as wrinkles and sun spots.
She will also travel to area high schools and aim her message at teens who are still visiting tanning salons at alarming rates—2.3 million teens visit them at least once a year. And although a teen’s skin is more susceptible to damage from harmful UV rays, 80% of people 25 and younger said that they think they look better with a tan, according to a survey by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
The price of getting a little tan is high, research shows. In a 2010 study, people who tanned indoors had a 74% increased risk of melanoma compared to those who never tan indoors. And occasional visits can be harmful, too: The risk of melanoma increases by 11% with just four visits per year.
People taking the no-tanning pledge promise to stop using tanning beds or intentionally tanning outdoors. They also agree to protect their skin with sunscreen and care for their skin with visits to their dermatologist.
“The dangers of tanning are very real and I see people in my practice being diagnosed with skin cancer, even young people under the age of 20. We’re aiming to help everyone find the beauty in their natural skin color and not risk their health by tanning,” says Taub. “It is the most effective way to reduce the risk of skin cancer.”
As spring break approaches, Taub urges people to tan the healthy way: with sunless tanning. It gives skin the glow they desire without the harmful UV ray exposure.
If your skin care facility is interested in a similar program to help end tanning in your community, Taub supplies SkinInc.com with exclusive tips and advice on how to get the program going.
To create awareness of the dangers of tanning to clients and community, a skin care facility should first develop its own message and goals of a no-tanning pledge. A message should be clear and unique to the facility, such as "Stop the Tan" or "Healthy and Tan-Free." The next step is determine the goals of the pledge, such as:
- How much time will be spent on communicating the pledge compared to other efforts in the facility;
- To whom the pledge will be communicated (clients and/or the community);
- Who is the demographic that the practice wants to reach (teens, current clients, everyone, etc.);
- Is there a specific number of signed pledges the business wants to attain within a month or year; and
- What end results does the business want to achieve from this pledge?
Execution of the pledge and message is both internal and external. Internally, educating and exciting the staff on the deliverance of the message is crucial, because it gives the skin care facility another opportunity to engage with its clients, and introduce new and existing clients to services, such as body checks, laser treatments for sun damage and products such as sunscreens and antioxidants. The pledge is not only an opportunity to provide clients with solutions to healthier skin, but also it is an internal revenue source to re-introduce services and products. Adding internal marketing throughout the office, such as signage in rooms, at the front desk and at the checkout counter will also engage clients and bring attention to the pledge. In addition, clients can be a resource by telling their friends about the pledge,
External promotion of the pledge will involve aligning the facility with events such as business and high school health fairs, golf outings and health and beauty businesses. Doing good for the community and providing education on the dangers of tanning will introduce the facility to the community as a destination for skin cancer solutions. Skin care facilities should also look to their websites, social media outlets and other businesses to post the tanning pledge as a source for communicating their message.