The Truth About Tanning

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Tan-free beauties like Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Kristen Stewart are not just sun-safe, they're stylish.

Thirty years ago, few people knew about the dangers of the sun. Dr. Perry Robins created The Skin Cancer Foundation to educate the public and medical professionals alike about the prevention, detection and treatment of skin cancer. The message is being heard. Today, skin cancer awareness is at an all-time high. A recent poll by the research company GfK Roper showed that 58 percent of people are concerned today about skin cancer. Yet only 11 percent of people use an SPF 15 or higher daily.

We've known for years that ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun is a human carcinogen. Now, the World Health Organization has classified UV tanning devices (tanning beds and sun lamps) as among the most dangerous causes of human cancers - on par with other carcinogenic forms of radiation such as radon, solar UV, and plutonium. The risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, increases by 75 percent when you use tanning beds before the age of 30.

In addition to the scientific evidence, there's another reason not to tan: Fashion and beauty insiders agree that tanning is no longer in style. "I can't remember the last time I saw a tanned model in my magazine or on the runway," said Jane Larkworthy, Beauty Director of W.

The same goes for celebrities. From Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore to Kristen Stewart and Amy Adams, smart celebrities are experts at protecting themselves from the sun. They know that up to 90 percent of visible skin changes attributed to aging are caused by the sun. Tanning can begin to wrinkle, sag, roughen, and discolor your skin as early as in your 20's.

Now is the time to change your attitudes about tanning as well as your behavior. Tanning as a life priority is over.