It's good news for teens looking to avoid premature aging and malignant melanoma; bad news for teens looking to cultivate that year-round Snooki-esque "glow." California just became the first state in the country to make the use of tanning beds illegal for anyone under the age of 18. Previously, kids under 14 were banned from tanning beds, and those between the ages of 14 and 18 needed parental consent to go under the lights.
Just in time, too, with recent studies showing that tanning bed radiation is even more carcinogenic than scientists previously realized. I can only hope the rest of the country is quick to follow Cali's lead. At the risk of sounding overdramatic, when it comes to being allowed to make the choice to voluntarily fry your body in UV radiation, this is one of those occasions when teens need to be saved from themselves.
Of course no human being of any age should be "indulging" in this cancer-causing treatment, but to think of all the damage done to young, unwrinkled skin! Once you've earned a laugh line or two, it's enough to break your heart.
The American Cancer Society attributes about 8,650 deaths annually to melanoma. Skin cancer is also the leading cause of cancer death for women between the ages of 25 and 29.
It's a crazy, crazy risk to take for such a fleeting, unimportant benefit. At least that's the way I feel about it, but that's probably because as someone whose natural skin color hovers somewhere between paste and snowflake, I made peace long ago with the fact that a golden tan was never going to be my thing. And that was years before vampire chic was the coolest thing ever! Between True Blood and Twilight and the rest, inordinately pale teens today have nothing to complain about, believe me.
Anyway, I hear a good self-tanner does wonders. If you're not trying to rock the undead look.
Would you ever go tanning again?
Image via Evil Erin/Flickr