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The Burning Truth

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A lot of people believe indoor tanning is safe. The truth is, tanning beds injure thousands of people each year badly enough to go to a hospital, and that's just the beginning. People who indoor tan damage their skin, often getting wrinkles, warts, rashes, and dark spots. They may even get skin infections, cataracts in their eyes, and—most dangerous of all—skin cancer, including deadly melanoma.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and unlike almost all other kinds of cancer, the rates are climbing. This is definitely not a trend you want to follow. Avoiding indoor tanning and protecting yourself from the sun when outdoors are the best ways to reduce your chance of getting skin cancer.

The Burning Truth communication initiative encourages you to keep your skin healthy and beautiful for life by protecting yourself from too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds.

Know the Burning Truth about these tanning myths—

A Base Tan Is Not a Safe Tan. There is a common misconception that a tan acts as the body's natural protection against sunburn. The Burning Truth: A tan is the body's response to injury from UV rays, showing that damage has been done. A "base tan" only provides a sun protection factor (SPF) of about 3 or less, which does little to protect you from future UV exposure.

Tanned Skin Is Not Healthy Skin. Some people believe the tanning bed gives them a "healthy glow." The Burning Truth: Whether tanning or burning, you are exposing yourself to harmful UV rays that damage your skin. In fact, every time you tan, you increase your risk of melanoma. The truly healthy glow is your natural skin color.

Controlled Tanning Is Not Safe Tanning. You may have heard that indoor tanning is the safer way to tan because you can control your level of exposure to UV rays. The Burning Truth: Sensible indoor tanning is a myth. Indoor tanning exposes you to intense UV rays, increasing your risk of melanoma—the second most common cancer in women between 20 and 29 years old.

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