Teen Report

The hottest trend for local teens is skipping the beach and opting for a tanning bed. But is that the safest choice?

With summer right around the corner, many teens are looking for that golden tan, and Janae Grice is no exception. But instead of heading outdoors, she heads to a tanning bed.

"I tan here instead of tanning outside because it is more convenient and less time consuming," said Janae Grice, tanning bed user.

And with products promising to give the perfect tan, it may be hard to resist the glow. A recent study from the national cancer institution linked artificial sunlight to skin cancer, especially when over-exposed before the age of 20. Tanning experts say artificial tanning is safer than natural sunlight.

"It's actually gonna be safer, just because you are controlling it. It's basically the same as the sun, but it is a controlled environment," said Natalie Connelly, tanning consultant.

Dermatologist Michael J. Ford disagrees, he warns that while it is undetermined which type of tanning is more harmful, that so-called healthy tan could actually be the beginning of potential skin problems.

"The problem is that whenever you get a tan, you are also getting injury to the skin and the potential for wrinkling and skin cancer," said Dr. Ford, Dermatologist.

But with indoor tanning facilities almost always full, and beaches almost always packed, there's no sign that teens are stopping their quest for the bronze.

If you can't avoid sun exposure, experts suggest trying to stay away from the harmful rays from during the middle of the day, and always take along and use the sunscreen.


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