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Legislation was recently passed in Hawaii prohibiting anyone younger than 18 from indoor tanning. This makes it the 10th state to pass this kind of legislation following Vermont, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oregon, New Jersey, Nevada, Texas, and Washington. Annually around 2.3 million teens use indoor tanning in the United States and it has been proven that excessive exposure to UV rays at a young age greatly increases the risk of developing melanoma. The American Academy of Dermatology has supported this and similar legislation in other states because of indoor tanning’s harmful effects.
Anytime you get a tan your skin has been damaged. The increased production of melanin which changes the skin’s tone is a result of self-defense against UV rays. Over time this damage will lead to premature aging of the skin and greatly increases the risk of skin cancer. In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer changed the status of indoor tanning devices that emit UV rays from “probably carcinogenic to humans” to “carcinogenic to humans.” This was based on a review of 19 studies conducted over 25 years. If you’re feeling invincible to skin cancer remember this: sun damage is one of the largest preventable contributors to premature aging of the skin. See our previous blog “Photoaging: Sun Damage Causes Wrinkles” to learn more.