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Researchers Mary Kate Baker, Joel James Hillhouse and Xuefeng Liu believe excess indoor tanning can be linked to young girls visiting salons with their mothers. Baker’s study, published in Archives of Dermatology, focused on the tanning habits of 227 girls, ages 18-30, from East Tennessee State University. Nearly 40% of the women in this study said their first tanning experience was with their mother. These study participants started tanning approximately two years earlier than the other participants; starting at age 14 instead of age 16.
Study participants that started tanning at age 14 are believed to be “five times as likely to be ‘heavy’ tanners as college students.” Lead researcher Mary Kate Baker, a doctoral student at East Tennessee State University, was not surprised with the group’s findings. Baker grew up in a “community where indoor tanning was prevalent, and young women who want to start tanning before they reach 16 or 17 have to rely on their mother not only to transport them, but to pay for their tanning.” To learn more about this study, please read “For teens, ‘tanorexia’ starts with Mom”.
Using tanning beds regularly can create health risks. In 2009, the World Health Organization reported that “tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation are among the top cancer risks, as deadly as arsenic, mustard gas or cigarettes.” To learn more about health risks caused by tanning beds, please read “Study: Frequent tanning-bed use triples melanoma risk”. Interested in sun safety tips? Please read "Sun Safety: Solutions for Teen Girls and Tanning".
Should tanning beds be banned for those under 18? Last year, the Food and Drug Administration considered a ban on tanning beds for minors. Would you be against a tanning ban?
- Samantha Bradbeer
Girl Museum, Inc.