The Skin Health Risks For Children Tanning

The risks for children tanning shouldn’t be ignored, as they can cause serious complications later in life.

Children and Sun Damage
Prolonged sun exposure, especially early in life, can increase your child’s risk of developing skin cancers like melanoma later in life (National Cancer Institute, 2011). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises parents to limit their child’s sun exposure, especially in early years, and to use protective sun block on children when spending time outdoors.

Children who are unprotected from UV rays are more likely to face premature skin aging, develop wrinkles, and suffer eye damage caused by UV exposure. Because of the inherent dangers of tanning, children should never engage in intentional skin tanning.

Keeping Younger Kids Safe While Outdoors
If you have young children who love to play in the sun, take the necessary steps to protect them. The children should apply sun block with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, SPF 50 is recommended for those with lighter skin tones. Reapply sun block every hour or so, especially if children are engaging in water sports or activities where perspiration may cause the sun block to fade more quickly.

Keep kids hydrated by providing plenty of water, and make sure that they drink them.

Encourage kids to play in shaded areas whenever possible, and keep their eyes protected by outfitting them with sunglasses or brimmed hats.

How to Handle Teen Tanning
If your teen wants to tan, make sure she does so safely. If you can’t get her to try sunless or spray tanning, see that she takes the necessary steps to stay safe in the sun or the salon. Advise her to wear sun block with an SPF of 30 or higher, and use proper eye protection. Make sure she knows to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using a moisturizing agent on the skin before and after tanning.

If your teen wishes to visit a tanning salon, you may wish to accompany her to ensure that safe practices are maintained. The salon should provide UV-protective eyewear, and have strict regulations on the amount and duration of the treatments.

Some states are considering legislation to make it illegal for teens under the age of 18 to use tanning lamps and beds in commercial salons. Certain states already have placed restrictions on tanning salons to prevent some minors from using salon services with the permission or accompaniment of a parent or guardian, such as California, Maine and New Jersey.