Young adults today have a significantly higher risk of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, than they did four decades ago. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that the risk of young women developing melanoma is six times higher than it was just forty years ago. The risk for young men is four times higher, less than the increase seen in women, but still very significant. Much of the increased risk can be attributed to activities such as tanning – either naturally or in a tanning bed.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It causes 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Another recent study has found that people who tan in tanning beds are 74% more likely to get melanoma than those who abstain. Young women are much more likely than young men to go to the tanning salon.
Other risk factors for melanoma include having many moles or moles that have an abnormal shape or color, fair skin, freckling, and light hair, or a family history of melanoma, all factors that people have no control over. What you do have control over is your amount of UV exposure. If you have any of these risk factors, it is particularly important to always wear SPF 15 or higher whenever you are outside, and wear hats and sunglasses during the midday hours when the sun is the strongest.