Tanning salons are in love with the business they get from young white women, according to a study released on Thursday about tanning, the first national study performed on the subject in over a decade.
The study, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found that white women between 18 and 21 have the highest rate of tanning indoors.
The study comes a week after a New Jersey mom’s highly publicized arrest for taking her 5-year-old to the tanning salon (as well as accusations that she is addicted to tanning).
The CDC reports that 32 percent of women in this group reported that they went to tanning salons at least once in the last year.
Those who tanned indoors went an average of 28 times in a year. Also, 30% of women aged 22 to 25 said they go to tanning salons.
Another cause of worry, according to the study, is the fact that around 50 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 report having a sunburn at least once in the last year.
This news worries scientists and doctors, who have been telling the public for years about the dangers of exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, as well as indoor tanning equipment. UV rays are harmful to the skin, and can increase the risk for skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in America.
Of the types of skin cancer, melanoma is the most deadly. The CDC reports that indoor tanning before the age of 35 can increase a person’s risk of melanoma by about 75%. Sunburn is the best indicator of too much exposure to UV radiation.
The report released on Thursday also states that people in the USA spend about $1.7 billion each year in skin cancer treatments. Marcus Plescia, director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, states that:
“We think this a public health epidemic in the making. This kind of exposure to UV radiation in young adult women could cause the incidence of melanoma to go up significantly. Right now it’s the seventh most common cancer in women and if we don’t do something, it could go much higher.”
The president of the American Academy of Dermatology, Daniel Siegel, states that:
“We are in the midst of a skin cancer epidemic right now, and young people are ignoring all the warnings about the dangers of tanning salons. [Young women are] responding to the aggressive advertising of the tanning industry. There’s a lot of heavy-duty marketing by tanning salons claiming they are healthy when they are absolutely unhealthy.”