Have you heard about the winter special? Sure - the local salon is running a "Jumpstart Summer" tanning special. The prices are so low, you really can't afford to pass them up. Your friends? Yeah - they'll be jealous of your beautiful new tan. Ah - sounds perfect.
A new study out of Australia encourages caution. The Queensland Institute of Medical Research reports that even a single use of a tanning bed significantly increases the risk of cancer for those under the age of 35. The statistics are staggering. People under 35 who use tanning beds have a 98% risk of developing skin cancer. Ninety Eight! Want to try it just once? You may get a great tan, but you'll also increase your risk of skin cancer by 22%. Is it really worth it?
With the highest skin cancer rates in the world, Australians have a vested interest in this health issue. 50% of Australians will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives.
What about the positive benefits of the sun? Well, it's true the body manufactures vitamin D after exposure to the sun. It's a powerhouse vitamin, offering many health benefits. But, the real issue is safe exposure to the sun. Too little and you may find yourself with a vitamin D deficiency. Too much and you may find yourself with unwanted cancerous growths. Yes - balance is called for.
So, the next time you feel the tug of the tanning salon, summon your strength and - open the door. Take a walk, breath the fresh air. Give your body a chance to get a little dose of sunshine, and vitamin D, the old fashioned way.To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read more about sun safety, see this from the University of California, Berkeley.