Teens, if you want great skin now -- and 10 years from now -- then you need
to shun the sun. Sure, you may think, "bronze is beautiful," but
research shows just the opposite: The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays make skin
look old and wrinkled years before it should and can lead to skin cancer, even
in teens. Yet not only is a tan harmful, one study shows it's
In an interview with WebMD, Seattle-based dermatologist Robin Hornung, MD,
talks about her new study on college students and tans. Dr. Hornung says that
tanning becomes like an addiction. Students who get their tans indoors -- under
a sun lamp -- are more likely to be addicted to tanning than those who go
outside to get a tan. "Those who indoor-tan are more apt to get addictive
habits such as drinking and smoking," says Dr. Hornung.
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It's thought that tanning is addictive because the body gives off
endorphins, "feel-good" hormones, when it's in UV light. Tanning may also be
addictive because being tan is "cool." Hornung says that teens feel good when
they have a tan, and so they want to do it again ... and again. Of course, the
addictive factor may be a mix of these reasons, and Hornung said more research
is needed to be sure.
Teen Skin and Sun Damage
"What does not need more research," says Hornung, "is how tanning affects
your skin. The UV light rays from the sun and from sunlamps damage the
Hornung says, "In small amounts, the sun is not usually a problem. Yet after
a lot of tanning, the skin gets brown spots and early wrinkles. The UV rays
also lead to early skin cancer in young adults."
Even a "short-term" tan is bad for your health. Furthermore, Hornung says
that UV rays can hurt your eyes. Even in winter, the sun can cause snow
blindness or burn the eyes so badly you must be hospitalized. She also warns
that some acne creams like Renova and Retin-A make the skin more sensitive to
the sun, and the skin will burn after just a short time outside.