Friday, August 19, 2011

Are tanning salons safe?

My 17-year-old daughter wants to go tanning at a tanning salon. She says all her friends are doing it. Is this safe?
- Anjali

Even though tanning seems to be all the rage with teens, it's best for them to stay out of tanning salons. Though tanning booths mostly use UVA rays that are less likely to burn skin, don't be fooled. These UVA rays are involved in the development of skin damage that can lead to skin cancer. UVA rays have a longer wavelength and penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin, so they're also responsible for premature wrinkling of the skin.

If your daughter is set on getting a few shades darker, suggest sunless tanners that can be bought in any drugstore. Also, make sure she applies plenty of sunscreen before hitting the beach or spending time outdoors.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: April 2009