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.
While all teens feel anxiety from time to time, some feel it more than others.
Say your best friend tells you she's going to the airport with her dad to learn to skydive. She's totally excited. But just thinking of skydiving causes you tremendous anxiety. Your stomach churns, your heart races, and you feel a lump in your throat when you try to swallow. You can't believe your friend is actually doing this, and think about it all day long. When she calls that evening, she says she can't wait to skydive...
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.
No Teen Wants Old Skin
Prevent wrinkles now? More than 80% of the signs of skin aging -- the lines
and wrinkles you see in your parents -- are the result of the tans they had as
teens before the age of 18. Chemist Ben Kaminsky, author of the skin-care guide
Beyond Botox, knows all about helping skin of all ages look its best. As
a chemist, Kaminsky makes lotions and creams for teens and adults that help to
cleanse, repair, nourish and protect the skin.
"Sunscreens are the mainstay of sunburn prevention," says Kaminsky, "and
many factors influence the effectiveness of a sunscreen, including your skin
type, when you put on the product, the amount you apply, and the time of day
you go out -- early, midday or late in the day. The sunscreen's value will also
depend on the thickness of the skin and the type of skin -- fair, olive, or