There's no such thing as a safe tan.


From US News and World Report: The International Agency for Research on Cancer – an affiliate of the World Health Organization – has categorized indoor tanning devices in its list of Group 1 carcinogens. Other group members include plutonium exposure, ultraviolet radiation from the sun and cigarette smoking.

In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed its categorization of indoor tanning devices from Class 1, which is low risk, to Class II, which suggests a moderate to high risk. Many state governments have gone further and passed legislation limiting access to indoor tanning devices for people under 18 years of age, plus imposed regulations like requiring parental consent. Shockingly, data suggests that more people will develop skin cancer from ultraviolet radiation exposure than the number of people who will develop lung cancer from cigarette smoking.

Bottom line: Wear your sunscreen every day. Choose one with a minimum of SPF 30 and reapply liberally. Choose one that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Remember: No matter what anyone tells you, there is no such thing as "safe sun". Or "safe tanning". And it doesn't matter your ethnicity. African-Americans and Latinx persons get skin cancer too.

In addition, limit exposure from 10 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon, when the sun's rays are the strongest and most direct. Finally, do frequent self-checks of your skin and see your dermatologist 1x per year for a full check. Skin cancer kills. Protect yourself!

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  • Elizabeth Quesnelle
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