Teenage Girls Continue to 'Fake 'n' Bake' Despite Health Warnings

Filed under: Teens, Health & Safety: Teens

fake n bake

Teens continue to tan despite health risks. Credit: MTC

Ask Snooki from "Jersey Shore." She knows.

There's nothing like that pre-cancerous glow to say, "Hey, boys, I'm young and sexy. Love me now before my skin turns to beef jerky, and I die from melanoma."

Not that teenage girls need Snooki's encouragement to do something stupid. According to U.S. News & World Report, beauty-obsessed adolescents continue to "fake 'n' bake" even though tanning poses the most publicized health risks since smoking.

Unless you have actually been living on Venus to catch some truly tasty rays the past few years, you know what ultraviolet light can do to your skin. For one thing, according to U.S. News, it increases your risk of deadly skin cancer by 75 percent.

"Whatever," say millions of American teenage girls as they smack their bubble gum and twirl their hair.

Some 32 percent of them used a tanning bed within the past year, according to a poll by the American Academy of Dermatology, and a quarter of them tan on a weekly basis.

The results are more grim than sexy. According to U.S. News, 68,000 people develop melanoma every year, and at least 9,000 of these people die. Melanoma rates have reportedly risen in the last 30 years, especially among girls.

The Associated Press reports lawmakers in New York are considering the first state ban on indoor tanning for anyone younger than 18. Roughly half the states regulate indoor tanning for children and teenagers, and New York currently requires parental consent for kids between the ages 14 to 17 to get indoor tans.

"The challenge is that teens have access to indoor tanning salons on almost every corner," Ronald Moy, the dermatology academy's president, tells U.S. News.

"We are very concerned that this behavior will lead to a continued increase in the incidence of skin cancer in young people and, ultimately, more untimely deaths from this devastating disease," he adds. "Our survey underscores the importance of educating young women about the very real risks of tanning."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.