PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New research reveals that tanning beds can be addictive for young women.
This time of year there’s usually a spike with indoor tanning as some attempt to give themselves a base tan before summer starts.
“Once you get that tan, it does help protect you a little bit, but you have to get so much damage to get that tan, it’s just not worth it in the end,” said Dr. Amy Kassouf, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Doctors say getting a base tan can be especially dangerous because when you suddenly go from very little ultraviolet exposure to intense ultraviolet light, it puts you at a higher risk for melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Indoor tanning is estimated to cause 400,000 cases of skin cancer yearly. Despite known dangers, one study showed 22 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 30 are actually addicted to indoor tanning.
“Our skin does release hormones that make us feel better. When it’s been radiated with the sun or with ultraviolet light, so it can be addictive, but doesn’t make it any better for us,” explained Kassouf. “It’s still that ultraviolet light that’s changing those cells into potentially something cancerous.”
Using indoor tanning beds before age 35 can increase the risk of melanoma by 59 percent.
The FDA already requires tanning devices to be labeled with a visible, black-box warning stating that they should not be used by people under the age of 18. Doctors say for those who want some color, the safest thing is to use a spray tan or self-tanning cream.