New Year’s resolution from The Skin Cancer Foundation: Don’t tan

From The Skin Cancer Foundation

NEW YORK — The new year is around the corner, and with it comes the opportunity to start fresh and ditch unhealthy habits.

The Skin Cancer Foundation encourages everyone to resolve to stop tanning in the New Year. Avoiding tanning is more important than ever, since tanning bed use, particularly among young people, is an alarmingly widespread behavior — in the U.S., more than 35 percent of adults and 55 percent of college students have tanned indoors. (1)

This anti-tanning message is particularly relevant for college students. Millions of college students nationwide have immediate access to indoor tanning salons. According to a recent study, nearly half of the nation’s top colleges offer indoor tanning facilities on or near campus (2) despite the definitive link between indoor tanning and the development of skin cancer.

While indoor tanning may seem like an easy way to achieve glowing skin, it comes with consequences,” said Perry Robins, M.D., president of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “It causes permanent damage and plays a significant role in the development of skin cancer, so getting in a tanning bed can put your life in danger.”

UV radiation, both from the sun and through using a tanning bed, is directly linked to skin cancer — just one indoor tanning session before the age of 35 increases melanoma risk by 75 percent. One session also increases the risk of the basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma by 29 percent and 67 percent, respectively. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the two most common forms of skin cancer.

Whether “laying out” or visiting a tanning salon, there is no such thing as safe tan. In addition to increasing skin cancer risk, tanning leads to premature skin aging, including wrinkles, leathery skin and age spots.

The Skin Cancer Foundation advocates embracing one’s natural skin tone and its “Go With Your Own Glow” campaign encourages women to love and protect their skin, whatever its natural hue. However, those who can’t resist the bronzed look but won’t sacrifice their health to achieve it should consider sunless UV-free tanners. They are available in many different formulations, including creams, lotions, gels, pump sprays, aerosols and wipes.


(1) Wehner M, Chren M-M, Nameth D, et al. International prevalence of indoor tanning: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Dermatol 2014; 150(4):390-400. Doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.6896.

(2) Pagoto SL, Lemon SC, Oleski JL, et al. Availability of Tanning Beds on US College Campuses. JAMA Dermatol. Published online October 29, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.3590.

Posted Dec. 29, 2014

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