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Even Middle Schoolers Show Skin Damage from Tanning Booths

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Skin damage is becoming increasingly prevalent because of the popularity of tanning booths. Even middle schoolers are showing signs of early skin damage from spending too much time without sunscreen in the sun or from tanning. A recent study used UV photography to reveal skin damage to teenagers and to convince them to stay out of a tanning booth, but it is difficult to say if the tactic will work considering that President Obama already raised taxes on tanning to stop would-be tanners from engaging in this vice.

In the study, researchers looked at 585 boys and girls who were born in 1998, and were 11 or 12 when the study started. All the children's faces were photographed with eyes closed and without sunscreen, makeup or moisturizers. The results showed that those children with risk factors for skin damage such as moles, fair skin or red hair indeed displayed greater damage and this was linked with a higher skin cancer risk. Naturally, tanning only exacerbates this problem because of the high concentration of UV radiation. In fact, tanners are 75% more likely to develop melanoma than non-tanners.

The new study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center say that they nevertheless hope that their research will prevent teens from tanning, especially those with many moles on their body, blue eyes, or red hair. The researchers pointed out that 1 in 50 Americans will receive a melanoma diagnosis in their lifetime.