Youth Obsessed with Sunless Tanning
Younger, healthier, sexier, thinner
Many teenagers are either obsessed with tanning or addicted to a darker-complexion. According to psychologists, a cosmetic ideal obsession or an emotional addiction might be the cause. "Younger, healthier, sexier, thinner" - is the message a bronzed complexion is sure to send out. The medical community is trying to confront this trend by educating teenagers that too often and too intense tanning can be risky. It's nothing wrong to be tanned, on the condition of:
- gradual and moderate indoor tanning session
- using without exception proper sunscreen indoor or sunscreen/sun-block outdoor
- avoiding childhood sunburns
Thus, skin cancer risks are avoided. Are kids complying to medical warnings? According to Associated Press, only a third of 10,079 preteens and adolescents surveyed in 2002 said they had regularly used sunscreen during the former summer. About 10 percent admitted that they had used a tanning bed. And there is more. Most of those surveyed said they have suffered at least one sunburn during the previous summer.
Another significant study comes from Boston University. Researchers questioned about 10,000 children of nurses across the United States participating in the Nurse's Health Study. The study started up in the late 1980s. The conclusions weren't so positive. Only 34 percent of the teenagers - aged 12 to 18 -, reported using sunscreen regularly, and 83 percent had suffered at least one sunburn. 36 percent of surveyors had endured three or even more sunburns during the previous summer. Teenagers were familiar to tanning beds: 14 percent of the girls surveyed had used a tanning bed, rising to 35 percent among 17 year old girls.
Representatives of American Academy of Dermatology are puzzled since indoor tanning is so unnecessary. It's not associated with playing sports or other outdoor activities. It is practiced exclusively for cosmetic reasons. So young, so careless
Modern indoor salons gave up here and there traditional tanning beds and began to offer safer alternatives such as spray-on tanning or tanning booth which do not include UV light. Despite these better choices, youth would rather go to tanning beds using UV radiation because it is cheaper. They got there wrongly believing that tanning beds are safer than real sun exposure. They seem careless even if they are aware that UV rays delivered indoor are as dangerous as those outdoor.
It's obvious that relatively few teenagers are aware that sunburns increase their risk of skin cancer. Yet they continue to use tanning beds regularly. What happens during childhood is crucial; an early sunburn history is the foundation of potential further cancer. Nationwide warning campaigns in the United States didn't show too many improvements in teens' attitude. But things have to be changed drastically, since melanoma is rising to critical range. In the past years, at least 13 states have begun to regulate teen tanning (bed or booth exposing) by:
- requiring parental presence
- asking written parental agreement for teenagers under 18.
The state of California asks for a doctor's prescription; otherwise, indoor tanning sessions are forbidden for kids under 18. Moreover, a bill in Maryland requires all three: parental presence, written consent of parents and medical approval ! The sooner teens learn to protect their skin, the better. Skin cancer is mostly incurable.
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