Harmful, long-term effects of indoor tanning
Dermatologists diagnose and treat a patient’s melanoma after years of tanning bed use as a teen.
I started using indoor tanning beds before school dances or summer vacation when I was 16. I began tanning more regularly in my early 20s, sometimes daily.
After years of using tanning beds, I noticed a large, speckled spot on my right thigh that was raised like a blister. My dermatologist, Dr. Joe Hazel, quickly diagnosed me with melanoma after a biopsy. I was hysterical. I never thought I’d have the deadliest form of skin cancer. Dr. Hazel collaborated with my oncologist who removed the cancer, tissue, and lymph nodes to ensure the melanoma didn’t spread. Thankfully I’m now cancer-free and see my new dermatologist, Dr. Shannon Trotter, for routine checks. If I hadn’t gone to a dermatologist, I wouldn’t be here today.
Parental consent was not required to use tanning beds in Ohio when I was a teenager, and I didn’t understand the risks. Restricting teens’ access to tanning beds should be a priority.
The dermatologist's perspective
“It’s important to dispel the myth of having a ‘healthy tan.’ Tanning is your skin’s response to dangerous ultraviolet rays. Because children and young adults are more susceptible to these ultraviolet rays, using tanning beds puts them at greater risk of skin cancer later in life. Research shows nearly one-third of indoor tanners start before age 18. We need regulations prohibiting tanning bed use for minors.”
─ Shannon Trotter, DO, FAOCD, FAAD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Ohio University; Associate Program Director, OhioHealth Dermatology Residency Program; Private Practice, Dermatologists of Central States
Patient & physician stories
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