Debate has been sparked within the FDA over the use and regulation of indoor tanning beds. With the passage of the new health care reform, a 10% tax on all indoor tanning salons will take effect beginning in July of this year. This means that anyone who chooses to use a tanning bed can expect to pay a higher cost with each visit.
With the known risks associated with indoor tanning, the FDA has begun to examine placing harsher restrictions on who is able to access tanning beds and salons. Among the proposed changes, the FDA is looking to restrict tanning to adults 18 and older, or requiring parental consent for younger teens. Additional restrictions include prohibiting individuals with particularly pale or sensitive skin from using these artificial beds. Behind these proposed changes, is the FDA's hope to raise the current classification of tanning beds from a Class I to a Class II or III device. These devices can cause more harm to the user and thus require additional training, labeling, performance requirements, and controls.
While any sort of sun damage is harmful to your skin, studies have shown that the UV radiation from indoor tanning increases the risk for skin cancer in individuals, especially those exposed at a young age. In fact, skin cancer has grown to become the second leading type of cancer in women 20 to 29 years old. This has been in large part attributed to the lack of SPF protection and the off-season exposure to the intense UV rays of tanning indoors.
If you just don't feel as good without a little color, there are plenty of safer options. Many salons are now offering spray tanning for similar costs to tanning bed packages. The pigment colors the skin without harmful skin damage. Lower cost options are gradual tanning lotions found at drug stores or just slapping on a little bronzer. Now that the sun is bright, take to the Beach or Quad for some natural sunlight-- but don't forget your sunscreen! An SPF of 15 or higher with UVA and UVB is recommended for the most protection for your skin. Reapply often to prevent the burn and skin damage. Your skin will thank you!
For more information on the FDA regulations, click here.
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