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Tanning Beds and Skin Cancer

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My daughter and her friends want to go to a tanning salon to get a head start on their summer tans. Should they wear sunscreen while on the tanning bed?



Dear Wondering,

According to indoor tanning salons, UV (ultraviolet) light exposure time is controlled when tanning indoors, so sunscreen lotions are not needed (

However, if your daughter and her friends are under the age of 18, then it is best to avoid tanning beds because of the risk of developing skin cancer.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued warnings about the dangers of tanning beds and skin cancer, especially for young people ( The American Academy of Dermatology ( endorses the WHO recommendation to restrict tanning bed use.

The Skin Cancer Foundation ( reported: "based on 7 worldwide studies, people who first used a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent."

UV light from the sun or other from other forms of ultraviolet radiation is the primary cause of skin cancer. In addition, excessive UV exposure can damage the eyes, promote skin aging, and harm the immune system.

See the American Cancer Society website at for more information and The Skin Cancer Foundation at