Do you like having a tan? Listen to this: Even if you use sunless tanning lotions because they’re safer than lying in the sun, new research shows you’re still ruining your skin. Don’t freak. The lotions and spray tans are safe, but according to CNN, people who use those products are twice as likely to hit the beach or the tanning salon than people who don’t use self-tanning products. That significantly raises their risk for skin cancer and early wrinkles.
Unfortunately, the urge to tan starts early in life. A study of 1,600 kids found that teen girls are the most likely to use sunless tanning products because they think the “sun-kissed look” makes them look more attractive. Take the case of 18-year-old Eden Lewis. She says she prefers to be a “bronzed goddess instead of a pasty Snow White.” So she gets a fresh spray tan before parties and other social events. She also sunbathes and uses tanning beds.
The good news is, when people are aware of the risks of sunbathing and tanning beds they change their behavior. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts studied 250 women at a beach. They got free sunless tanning products and information about skin cancer. The result? One year later, the women who got the skin cancer info were sunbathing a lot less frequently. The American Cancer Society says these findings can help doctors find new ways of changing their patients’ behavior when it comes to tanning, starting with making sure patients understand that there are safe alternatives to sunbathing and tanning beds. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer – and the most preventable. Avoiding tanning beds, limiting your sun exposure and using sunscreen every day can significantly lower your risk.