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FDA Imposes Firmer Rules on Tanning Salons


The Federal Drug Administration (“FDA”) is tightening rules on tanning salons because of the cancer risk posed by the use of sunlamps. Due to the increased risk of melanoma, future tanning bed designs will include warnings that no one under 18 is to use them as well as limits on the level of UV ray exposure.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people exposed to indoor tanning products have a 59% increase in the risk of melanoma. Despite statistics showing that artificial tanning increases the risk of developing melanoma, young people continue to herd to tanning salons.

Tanning beds substantially increase the risk of melanoma.

Tanning beds substantially increase the risk of melanoma.

According to Jeffrey Shuren, the director of the agency’s Center for Devices and Radiological health, the highest risk for skin cancer is in a person under the age of 18 and a person with a family history of skin cancer.  Manufacturers are now required to add a black box warning on the device stating that it should not be used by anyone under the age of 18. Companies have approximately 15 months to place warning labels on devices already in use.

If you’re planning on heading out to the beach this summer, be safe. The Skin Cancer Foundation has published a useful set of prevention guidelines to keep your skin safe from cancer. If you’re planning on patronizing a tanning salon, please reconsider. These tips won’t help you if you’re purposefully set on damaging your skin.

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head to toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

The American Cancer Society estimates that almost “13,000 people die each year from skin cancer.” Out of the 13,000 people that die each year from skin cancer, 9,700 of those deaths are caused by melanoma.

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