Entries in Tanning (14)


Study Exposes the Dangers of Indoor Tanning

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Doctors have long warned us how tanning beds raise the risk of skin cancer. Now, a new study suggests tanning parlors are fighting back, with dangerous misinformation. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found out how you can get burned by some shady claims.

For the study, researchers at Washington University surveyed 243 tanning salons in the state of Missouri.
They found that 43 percent claimed there are no risks to indoor tanning.  A whopping 65 percent said they would allow children as young as 10 or 12 to tan, in direct defiance of established medical advice.
And only 19 percent of the salons surveyed advocated the use of sunscreen.
Not one facility asked if potential customers had skin cancer or took light-sensitive medications.

And just 22 percent followed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guideline that clients should have a skin exam before tanning.             
On the plus side, 85 percent did say customers had to wear eye protection, but when customers expressed concerns about getting "raccoon eyes," over half allowed them to tan with no eye protection at all.

While none of the misinformation and bad advice given by the tanning salons is illegal, Missouri is one of 17 states without statewide tanning regulations. Due to the known risks of UV rays and tanning -- increased skin cancer, eye damage, premature skin aging -- the authors are calling for state legislation of tanning beds as "medical devices," and enforcement of current FDA regulations.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Indoor Tanning Tied to 170,000 Skin Cancers Annually

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Indoor tanning increases the risk of two types of common skin cancers, especially among those exposed before the age of 25, a new review of previously published studies shows.

This international study, published Tuesday in the journal BMJ, combined the results of 12 studies on nearly 81,000 people.

By comparing the data linking indoor tanning and skin cancer, researchers estimated that the activity may account for more than 170,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers -- basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas -- in the United States each year.  In particular, exposure to indoor tanning before the age of 25 was linked to an increased risk for basal cell carcinoma, according to the study.

These findings show that "indoor tanning is dangerous, especially for young people," said study senior author, Dr. Eleni Linos, assistant professor in the department of dermatology at the University of California San Francisco.

Specifically, Linos and her colleagues found that those who reported ever using indoor tanning had a 67 percent higher risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 29 percent higher risk for basal cell carcinoma.

There are several types of skin cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute website.  Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma form in the higher layers of the skin, while melanoma originates in the cells that create pigment.  It is melanoma that is the most deadly form, but non-melanoma cancers strike many more Americans -- more than an estimated two million in this year alone.  Linos added that non-melanoma skin cancers affect nearly one in five Americans over the course of their lifetimes.

"With this study, we finally have strong evidence that tanning beds contribute to all types of skin cancer including basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma," Linos said.  "The risk of all three types of skin cancer is significantly higher in young people.  This means there is a clear cancer risk for teenagers who use tanning beds, and it's hard to argue with regulations to protect children from cancer."

She said that while non-melanoma skin cancers are less deadly, their impact is enormous.

"Their treatment adds up to the fifth-most costly cancer for Medicare," she said, citing research that showed that the cost of diagnosing and treating these types of skin cancers ranges from $1,200 to $2,100 per case.

Cancer experts not involved with the study called the findings startling.

"This data is really strong," said Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.  "We have been very concerned for a long time that tanning beds clearly cause cancer and we have been recommending against their use."

These findings may renew calls to better regulate indoor tanning, according to the study authors.

"A national ban for those under 18 is a first step, because that is the group at highest risk," Linos said, adding that many states are already doing this.

Representatives from the tanning industry balked at the idea of bans and stiff regulations for a practice they said comes with health benefits that may offset the risks.

"Tanning beds are a good source of vitamin D, which is associated with many health benefits," said John Overstreet, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Indoor Tanning Association.

Such an argument may not be enough to convince many health experts, however.  In 2009, the World Health Organization placed all forms of indoor tanning in the same category as such cancer-causing agents as tobacco smoke and asbestos.

"Vitamin D is important for general health, and can be obtained both through sunlight but also through the diet," Linos said.  "The risks of indoor tanning outweigh the benefits, especially for young people."

Moreover, she added, tanning beds are typically used by young healthy women who are not at risk for Vitamin D deficiency and conditions linked to low vitamin D levels.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tanning Mom Isn’t Tan Anymore

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The “Tanning Mom” has stopped tanning.

When we last saw Patricia Krentcil, she was nationally notorious for tanning five times a week. She first made headlines when she was accused of allowing her 6-year-old daughter (5 years old at the time) to use a tanning booth. She denied the allegations after she was arrested and charged with second-degree child endangerment.

But now Krentcil has turned over a new leaf. She took a challenge from the magazine In Touch to stay out of the UV rays, both real and artificial, for an entire month.

The results are quite shocking for the Nutley, N.J. mom.  She says people tell her she looks so much better.  Krentcil, 44, reveals to the magazine on stands now that she is still indulging in self-tanning lotion, however.

“I feel weird and pale,” Krentcil told the magazine.

Krentcil has admitted she’s battled in the past with what doctors dubbed “tanorexia.”

“Everyone says I look so much better less tan,” Krentcil told the magazine at their July 19 photo shoot.

Krentcil also told the magazine she’s “done with tanning for now” but will still probably “squeeze a tan in here or there.”

And as for her daughter Anna, Krentcil said, “She plays with her Barbie dolls while I tan.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Extreme Tanning: Cancer Scare Doesn't Stop Tan Clan

Stockbyte/Thinkstock (file photo)(NEW YORK) -- For the Corkran family of Jasper, Texas, tanning is a family tradition. Mom Erin Corkran and her two daughters, Jamie and Rachel, tan every day, sometimes twice a day, and often in the comfort of their own home, in a $4,000 tanning bed that takes up one of their bedrooms.

“It’s convenient, it’s private and it’s the only place it would fit,” Erin told ABC News.

Jamie, 26, and Rachel, 17, were both in the tanning bed by the time they were around 12 years old.  When they’re not tanning indoors, they head outside.

“I like to go out there daily for hours,” Jamie said.  “I like to go in the heat of the day.  You get the best sun.”

“Most times when we look in the mirror we’re not dark enough,” said Rachel.

The two sisters share tanning tips with their mom the way other families hand down generations-old recipes.

“We’ll use baby oil with iodine,” Jamie said.  “She [mom] taught me that trick when I was in junior high school.”

Recently, Erin has been nagging Rachel for slacking off on her own tan.

“She tells me every day,” Rachel said.

According to the American Journal of Medicine, adolescents with a parent who uses indoor tanning are 70 percent more likely to tan themselves.  All three women share a devotion to staying dark.

“Tan fat looks better than white fat,” Jamie said.  “You look more alive. Your teeth look wither, your eyes look brighter.  Your bathing suits just look a million times better.”

With statistics showing that 90 percent of all skin cancers are caused by UV radiation, tanning can be a dangerous hobby.

Erin had a precancerous spot removed from her skin a few years ago and was told by her doctor to quit tanning.

“I did try and then I had my kids telling on me and my grandkids would tell on me so finally I said, ‘Ya’ll need to leave me alone. I’m gonna tan,’” she said.  “I don’t want to stop.”

“You always think the things you hear and read and happen to other people are not going to happen to you until it does,” Erin said.  “I guess it’s like playing Russian Roulette.”

Aware of their mom’s cancer scare, Jamie and Rachel are not giving up tanning either.

“We are worried for her but that doesn’t mean we are going to stop tanning either, because we both love it,” Rachel said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Former ‘Tanorexic’ Quits Tanning After Bosses Beg Her to Stop

Courtesy Jeannine Morris(NEW YORK) -- From tanning beds to spray tans, the desire among young women for darker skin is hotter than ever this summer.

Jeannine Morris, 29, was once enamored by the glow of tanned skin. To get her deep caramel complexion, the beauty assistant at Cosmopolitan magazine baked in a tanning bed every day — sometimes even twice a day — for seven years. A self-described “tanorexic,” she wanted to be as dark as she possibly could — with no concern for her health.

“I was in the strongest bed every single day. You can only go into those for like 8 minutes at a time. I would lay there and bake and when I got out, my skin did not even smell good. I smelled burnt,” she recalled of her 22-year-old self. “I knew it wasn’t healthy. I just liked the way I looked, liked the way I felt and didn’t really care.”

That was until her bed-baking addiction began to get in the way of her dream job at Cosmopolitan. When editors pulled her aside and expressed concerns about what the toll her tanning was taking on her health, it finally struck a chord.

“They said, ‘Look, now that you’re hired, you’re representing the brand.’ … They were kind of expressing concerns to me about my look and about how unhealthy it was for me to go tanning,” she said. “It was never like, ‘If you don’t stop tanning, we’re going to fire you. … It’s simply an oxymoron for beauty editors to go tanning.’ I was like, I have my dream job, I’m not going to let anything stand in that way.”

A career-driven Morris decided to stop tanning altogether or “ban the tan” as she dubbed it, but like any addiction she says she suffered from withdrawals.

“I started to feel immediately fat. … I no longer got that heat on my body, my skin no longer smelled that way, when I put makeup on it looked different, the whites in my eyes didn’t pop, my teeth didn’t look as white,” she said. “It was like everything started to fade and as things faded I was not happy with myself, and I couldn’t handle turning pale.”

Over time Morris, who founded the website and first shared her story on her blog and later with the New York Post, successfully kicked the habit. She considers it a life-changing decision, as does 21-year old Maxxie Goldstein, who also lived by the mantra: “the darker the better.”

“I don’t think I ever realized I was obsessed until now, looking back,” said Goldstein, a college student in New York. “I really wanted to tan just because in my head I looked better tan.”

Goldstein’s high school and college days have been consumed by tanning. That’s six years of damage to her skin that she can’t undo.

“If I really knew the harsh reality of the tanning world, I don’t think I would have ever done it. It’s something that you can’t take back. There is no reverse, sort of, for the damage that is done,” she said.

Skin cancer is now the second most common cancer among women in their 20s, according to Cancer Research U.K., and new studies show that sun bed users under the age of 30 increase their lifetime risk of melanoma by 75 percent.

Morris is grateful that the only health condition she’s been burned by so far is that her skin is aging prematurely. She insists her days of roasting in tanning beds are over and that you couldn’t pay her to go in a tanning bed again. Now, you’ll find her lathered up in SPF 30.

“I’m very lucky the only thing I’ve suffered from are fine lines and hyper pigmentation,” she said. “It’s over … and I feel healthy.” Morris is grateful that she does not have skin cancer, but she does visit a dermatologist for regular checkups.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Extreme Tanner Says Skin Cancer Wouldn’t Stop Her

File photo. (Stockbyte/Thinkstock)(MARINA DEL RAY, Calif.) -- For many women, summertime means hitting the beach and getting a sun-kissed look. For others, like Trisha Paytas, her obsession with being tan consumes everyday life.

Paytas, a model working in the Los Angeles area, says she hasn’t missed a day of tanning in 10 years and doesn’t plan on it.

“I go every morning. It’s my routine,” Paytas, 25, said. “People would say I am almost narcissistic because I really love the way I look when I tan.”

Day in and day out, Paytas goes to Total Tan or another local tanning salon in Marina del Ray, Calif.  Sometimes she’s there twice a day. After hitting the tanning bed, Paytas gets a spray tan to make sure her complexion and color are perfectly even.

Aware of the cancer risks, Paytas says being tan gives her confidence.

“I have seen myself pale and I don’t look like myself,” she said. “When you see someone who is tan, you are like, wow, amazing.”

Giana Gerardo agrees. The 24-year-old is also a tanning fanatic, logging two or three days at week at the local Beach Bum salon where she works.

“It makes me feel good and I feel comfortable in my skin,” Gerardo said.  “It makes my clothes kind of look a little bit better than if I were not as tan.”

Both girls started tanning in their teens after being introduced to it by their moms. Paytas has racked up an expensive tanning tab in her quest for darker skin.  Paytas’ spray tans alone cost her more than $5,000 a year and she is saving up for her own tanning bed.

Skin cancer is now the second most-common cancer among women in their twenties, according to Cancer Research UK, and new studies show that sun bed users under the age of 30 increase their lifetime risk of melanoma by 75 percent.

Paytas told ABC News that even a skin cancer diagnosis wouldn’t stop her from hitting the tanning bed the next day.

“If you told me that I have skin cancer I don’t think I would stop,” she said. “Scrape it off and keep going.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Are 'Spray-On' Tans Safe? New Concerns as Industry Puts Out Warnings

Image Source/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The active chemical used in spray tans, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), has the potential to cause genetic alterations and DNA damage, according to a panel of medical experts who reviewed 10 of the most-current publicly available scientific studies on DHA for ABC News, including a federal report ABC News obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Six medical experts in areas ranging across the fields of dermatology, toxicology and pulmonary medicine said they "have concerns" after reviewing the literature and reports about DHA, the main chemical in the popular "spray-on" tan, which has conventionally been referred to as the "safe" alternative to tanning under ultraviolet lights.

None of the reviewed studies tested on actual human subjects, but some found DHA altered genes of multiple types of cells and organisms when tested in different labs by different scientists after the chemical was approved for use in the consumer market.

"I have concerns," said Dr. Rey Panettieri, a toxicologist and lung specialist at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine.  "The reason I'm concerned is the deposition of the tanning agents into the lungs could really facilitate or aid systemic absorption -- that is, getting into the bloodstream."

Panettieri, like all the experts ABC News consulted with, said more studies should be done.  He emphasized the available scientific literature is limited.  Still, he said, he has seen enough to say the warning signs of serious health concerns exist.

"These compounds in some cells could actually promote the development of cancers or malignancies," he said, "and if that's the case then we need to be wary of them."

The Food and Drug Administration originally approved DHA for "external" use back in 1977, when it was popular in tanning lotions.  Those lotions, previously famous for turning skin orange, were never as popular as current products that produce better tans.  In recent years, the use of DHA has exploded in the newer "spray" application of the product, which provides a more even tan for consumers.

The FDA told ABC News it never could have envisioned the chemical's use in spray tan back in the 1970s, and says "DHA should not be inhaled or ingested" today.  It tells consumers on its website, "The use of DHA in 'tanning' booths as an all-over spray has not been approved by the FDA, since safety data to support this use has not been submitted to the agency for review and evaluation."

The agency advises consumers who spray tan that they are "not protected from the unapproved use of this color additive" if they are inhaling the mist or allowing it to get inside their body.  The agency recommends, "Consumers should request measures to protect their eyes and mucous membranes and prevent inhalation."

However, ABC News found some tanning salons offering consumers advice that directly conflicts with what the FDA has recommended.

In response to ABC News' findings, the tanning industry has announced it will launch a major national training initiative that will hit thousands of salons across the United States over the next few weeks, intended to inform both salons and customers who "spray tan" about the FDA recommendations.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


High School Students Sign No-Tanning Pledges for Prom

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MAYNARD, Mass.) -- On Friday, students at Maynard High School in Maynard, Mass. made good on an important promise: no tanning before this year's prom.

Many of the students signed a pledge in February that they would skip the tanning bed and sunbathing before prom this year in an effort to reduce their risk of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.

Allison Bosse, the high school senior who organized the pledge, said convincing everyone to flaunt their pale skin was no easy task.

"Our school is known for a lot of people tanning.  Kids start in March because they want to be tan in their dresses for prom," she said.

Bosse said the pressure for students to get a golden glow is so great that freshmen start visiting tanning beds even though they don't go to the prom.

Bosse said she wanted to educate her classmates about the dangers of tanning.  She set up tables at lunch and started asking for people to sign the no-tanning pledge.  Of the school's 283 seniors, 209 signed the pledge.

"A couple of people said 'I like tanning too much, I can't sign that.  I won't get skin cancer,'" Bosse said.  "But it seemed like a lot really listened and weren't going to do it anymore."

The pledges taken at Maynard High School are part of a growing trend at high schools around the U.S., aimed at educating students about the connection between tanning and skin cancer.

Rates of melanoma have been rising steadily among young adults for the past few decades.  In April, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that rates of melanoma increased by a factor of more than six from 1970 to 2009, and the rates were highest among young women. 

Though any exposure to ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of melanoma, experts believe the rise is linked to widespread use of tanning beds among teenagers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Investigation Finds Tanning Salons Lie About Health Risks to Patrons

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Few salons tell the truth about the health risks of indoor tanning, according to an investigative report conducted by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The committee requested an investigation to determine whether indoor tanning salons provide factual and sufficient information on the health risks associated with the practice.

Committee investigators posed as fair-skinned 16-year-old girls, and contacted 300 indoor tanning salons throughout the country.  Of the salons contacted, 90 percent told the would-be patrons that indoor tanning did not pose health risks, and more than half the salons denied that the fake sun increased risk of cancer.

Many described such statements as "rumor" and "hype," according to the report, and more than three-quarters of salons said indoor tanning is actually beneficial to the health of a teen girl.

"The potential effect of this report is huge," said Dr. Suzanne Connolly, vice president of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).  "We must grab the attention of our population and educate them.  It's a big opportunity for improving health by reducing risk through education."

Connolly said the AAD applauds the committee for taking the initiative to undertake the investigation.

"Tan represents damage," she said.  "That is a fact."

Salons told the "teens" that the intense UV rays treat depression, induce vitamin D production, prevent and treat arthritis and help with weight loss, cellulite, depression and self-esteem.  Employees also often referred to industry-sponsored websites that downplay or disregard the copious research that has found indoor tanning causes melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.

"Their statements are in many cases directly contrary to the compelling, irrefutable evidence that the use of indoor tanning devices increase your risk of skin cancer," said Dr. William James, immediate past president of the American Academy of Dermatology.

While the Food and Drug Administration recommends against indoor tanning more than three times per week, the investigation found that salon employees told callers who were concerned about safety that, "it's got to be safe, or else [government regulators] wouldn't let us do it," according to the report.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Majority of Kids Don't Use Sunscreen Regularly, Study Finds

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The majority of pre-adolescents don't regularly use sunscreen, according to a new study, despite the fact that many of them suffered sunburns at some point during their childhood, which increases the risk of developing melanoma later in life.

Researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York followed 360 kids who were around 10 years old between 2004 and 2007 and surveyed them about whether they ever had sunburns, how much time they spent in the sun and how often they wore sunscreen.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that more than half the children reported having at least one sunburn the previous summer, and that number was about the same when the children were questioned three years later.

"At the same time, there was a significant reduction in reported sunscreen use," said Stephen Dusza, lead author and a research epidemiologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

While 50 percent of the kids said they used sunscreen at the beginning of the study, that number dropped to 25 percent three years later.  Fair-skinned children were at higher risk, since they were more likely to report multiple sunburns.

Most of the study participants said they liked the appearance of a tan, and the number of children who said they spent time in the sun to get a tan increased over the three-year period.

Dusza and dermatologists not involved in the research said the findings highlight the importance of finding effective ways to educate children of this age group about sun safety and the potential dangers of excessive exposure to ultraviolet light.

"When you ask kids or teens about tanning, they say people look better with a tan, and tanning has a very positive association in kids of this age, so trying to get them to limit this behavior is a difficult message to get across," Dusza said.

"This is the age group we need to make an impact on, becuase it gets harder to make an impact as they get into their later teen and early adult years," said Dr. Jonette Keri, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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