Spring break is less than a month away, and many are already making plans to find a warmer place to recharge our batteries. In addition, this is also a busy time for tanning beds.
Haven't you heard people say, 'I just want to get a base tan before i get out in the sun so i won't burn."? The American Cancer Society says that more than 2 million new skin cancers will be diagnosed this year, and it's that kind of thinking that adds to the problem.
"People mistakenly think that if they are going on vacation and they tan before it will protect them. It doesn't protect you when you're on vacation and it just increases your overall exposure," says Dr. Melissa Piliang with the Cleveland Clinic.
Doctors say U-V rays are the ones that burn the skin and cause cancer. And the damage is cumulative, so, if you start on a tanning bed, you're just adding to your total amount of U-V radiation exposure.
Here at Texas Tech, Dr. Ashley Sturgeon, a dermatologist, says she understands the desire to tan, but hopes parents today will step in and stop that cycle of addiction.
"I'm a former tanner as well; I call it a tan-aholic. It's just so addictive to get that tan. And that's why we feel tanning is a carcinogen, just like smoking, you shouldn't be able to make the decision whether you're going to smoke or not until you're 18, and tanning is the same way, it is a very dangerous activity, it's a pre-cancerous activity, it's not something anyone would ever wish on their child."
Studies from the Cleveland Clinic have shown that your risk of skin cancer jumps 75% if you start using a tanning bed before the age of 30.