Take a pass on tanning beds

February 16, 2017

If you're tempted to try a tanning bed to get a golden glow, know this: Tanning indoors isn't any saferiStock-477811328.jpg than tanning in the sun.

Just like the sun, tanning booths emit ultraviolet (UV) rays. And exposure to UV rays raises your risk of skin cancer, including its deadliest kind, melanoma. Research suggests, in fact, that tanning booths may be to blame for more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer every year in the U.S.

Tanning booths are especially dangerous for young people. Those who begin indoor tanning as teens or young adults are at higher risk of developing melanoma.

The bottom line: Any tan, unless it comes from a self-tanner, is a sign your skin has been damaged. Along with raising your risk of skin cancer, tanning also ages your skin prematurely and causes wrinkles and dark spots.

Sun smarts

If you want that bronzed look, stick to a self-tanning spray or lotion. And always protect your skin with these three tips:

1. Be sun shy. If you can, stay inside or in the shade when the sun's rays are the strongest-between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

2. Slather on sunscreen. Use one with an SPF of 30 or higher every day when you're outside-even on cloudy days. Use a generous amount, enough to fill a pingpong ball. And reapply your sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

3. Accessorize! Cover up with protective clothing-such as a wide-brimmed hat, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants-before heading outside.

Sources: American Academy of Dermatology; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Office on Women's Health

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