A study from Joel Hillhouse, Ph.D., of East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, and colleagues has just been published in the May issue of Archives of Dermatology looking at which health-based intervention worked best in reducing skin cancer risks. They found that “Emphasizing the appearance-damaging effects of UV light, both indoor and outdoor, to young patients who are tanning is important no matter what their pathological tanning behavior status.”
I have used this tack on not just young girls, but middle aged women to try to get them to curtail their tanning habits. This includes sun and tanning beds.
I have a patient I have known for many years now. I got her to use sunscreen on her face and neck years ago, but had limited luck with decreasing her sun tanning until recently. She noticed how much better her face and neck has aged verse her chest/cleavage. She has also begun having multiple skin cancers removed by her dermatologist (so I guess neither of us had as much influence as we would have liked) from her back, arms, and legs.
This patient’s chest/cleavage skin looks at least 10 years older than her facial skin. She has finally reduced her sun tanning, but the damage is done.
Damaging effects of tanning bed or sun tanning can led premature aging of the skin giving it a dry, wrinkled, leathery appearance; as well as increase skin cancers (melanomas and non-melanomas). (photo credit)
Tanning beds are not a safer way to get a tan. Safe sun practices include:
- Plan your outdoor activities to avoid the sun's strongest rays. As a rule, avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wear protective covering such as broad-brimmed hats, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts to reduce sun exposure.
- Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection.
- When outdoors, always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater, which will block both UVA and UVB. Apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply approximately every 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Effect of Seasonal Affective Disorder and Pathological Tanning Motives on Efficacy of an Appearance-Focused Intervention to Prevent Skin Cancer; Arch Dermatol. 2010;146:485-491; Joel Hillhouse, PhD; Rob Turrisi, PhD; Jerod Stapleton, BS; June Robinson, MD