Indoor Tanning Increases Risk of Skin Cancer Including Deadly Melanoma

Think Twice Before Tanning for Prom Season

March 21, 2011 (New York, NY)
- Despite a link between indoor tanning bed use and an increased risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, 2.3 million teenagers visit tanning salons every year. In the spring, many tanning salon patrons are college students getting ready for spring formals, and high school students gearing up for prom season. So it's no surprise that melanoma is now the most common form of cancer in young adults 25-29 years old, and the second most common form of cancer in adolescents and young adults ages 15-29.

"The damage caused by the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning beds and the sun is cumulative and often irreversible, and the earlier people start to tan, the higher their risk of developing skin cancer in their lifetimes," said Perry Robins, MD, President, The Skin Cancer Foundation. "In fact, melanoma risk increases by 75 percent when indoor tanning begins before age 35."

If the threat of skin cancer isn't enough to scare young people away from tanning salons, they should know that 90 percent of visible skin changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by exposure to UV radiation. Tanning accelerates the signs of aging, including wrinkles, leathering and fine lines, which can be seen as early as in one's twenties.

In addition to being dangerous and damaging to the skin, tanning is completely out of step with current fashion trends. The three leading ladies of the 2011 Oscars, Natalie Portman (Best Actress), Melissa Leo (Best Supporting Actress) and Anne Hathaway (co-host), led the way with beautiful, untanned skin. While the fashion reviews were mixed, all agree that healthy, luminous skin was the accessory of choice.

Other Hollywood heavy hitters- including Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock, Scarlett Johansson, Annette Bening, and Jennifer Hudson- know that naturally radiant skin is what looks best on the red carpet. Cleary, the tanned look has lost its appeal.

About The Skin Cancer Foundation

The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. For more information, visit