New studies link increased skin-cancer risk to tanning beds especially among young peopleMar 20, 2007 | Newsweek
With spring breakers already boarding planes, and summer looming, some of us in the colder climates would do anything to get rid of that pasty-white winter look. But we should resist the urge to resort to a tanning bed. A report out this month in the International Journal of Cancer (IJC) finds that men and women who have ever used sun beds were 15 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. And, in a review of seven other studies, the IJC found that exposure to tanning beds before age 35 boosted melanoma risk by 75 percent.
Even if you don’t go for a salon tan, you should protect your skin whenever you’re outside. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, affecting more than one million people each year, according to the American Cancer Society. And rates are going up. The Centers for Disease Control reports that the incidence of skin cancer has increased steadily, by 2.9 percent each year from 1981 to 2003.
To keep your skin healthy, wear moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher on skin that is exposed to the sun. Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Stay in the shade when the sun is most powerful (between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and apply sun block every two hours. For more information on skin-cancer prevention and tips on how to do a skin self-exam, go to the Skin Cancer Foundation Web site.