Teens considering heading to a tanning salon to achieve a pre-prom glow should beware: Using a tanning bed before age 35 increases melanoma risk by 75 percent. In addition, just one indoor ultraviolet tanning session increases users’ risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent.
“Any tan, whether you get it on the beach or in a tanning bed, is dangerous and damages your skin,” said Dr. Perry Robins, foundation president. “A tan comes with consequences. In addition to increasing skin cancer risk, tanning leads to premature skin aging, including wrinkles, leathery skin and age spots.”
The foundation advocates embracing one’s natural skin tone. Those who can’t resist the bronzed look but won’t sacrifice their health to achieve it should consider sunless tanners. They are available in creams, lotions, pump sprays and wipes.
Tips for properly applying sunless tanners:
• Exfoliate skin with a scrub and follow up with a moisturizer, which ensures that tanners will be absorbed evenly. Follow directions closely. Self-tanners can take 30-60 minutes to produce visible color, and this hue typically lasts about five days. Repeat as necessary.
• Go to a pro. Professional spray tans are an option for those who want to safely achieve a bronzed look in a hurry.