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The myth of the ‘base tan’

Consumer Reports News: August 20, 2010 08:08 AM

Hoping to extend your tan or get a jump start before your Labor Day weekend getaway? More than half of adults think a "base tan" is a healthy way to protect skin from sun damage, according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Dermatology. Not so! In fact, indoor tanning beds increase the melanoma risk up to 74 percent, according to a study published in a journal from the American Association for Cancer Research.

Researchers analyzed 1,167 adults with melanoma and compared their indoor tanning habits with 1,101 adults without melanoma. Not surprisingly, the more time people spent on tanning beds, the higher their risk.

Melanoma is the fastest-growing cancer among Caucasian men and second among Caucasian women. But not everyone is getting the memo. The indoor tanning industry estimates that some 30 million Americans visit tanning salons each year. There’s evidence that tanning may trigger the release of mood-boosting endorphins, which could make it habit-forming

A smarter suntan option: Forget the harmful rays (indoors and out) and fake it with some sunless tanner.

This article first appeared in the September 2010 issue of ShopSmart, on newsstands now. 

Take a look at some things that can make you more likely to get melanoma and find out how to check your skin for melanomas. For more news and tips, "like" us on Facebook and sign up for our mobile Health Alerts

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