A new study says more and more teenagers are using tanning beds and, partly as a result, the deadliest form of skin cancer -- melanoma -- is on the rise.
The American Academy of Dermatology surveyed 3,800 women and found that more than 30 percent of them said they used a tanning bed within the past year. One out of four said they used the beds on a regular basis.
All of the women in the survey were Caucasian, and 81 percent of the respondents also tanned outdoors
According to reports, people use tanning beds because they think they are less dangerous than the sun. But previous studies show indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma by as much as 75 percent.
A state Senate committee approved a bill that would make California the first state in the nation to ban those under age 18 from using ultraviolet tanning beds and similar devices.
State law already requires those 14 to 18 to get written parental permission to use commercial UV facilities.
The best advice: use sunscreen whenever you are exposed to ultraviolet rays. In addition, understand that sunscreens don't work by reflecting the sun; they must be absorbed to work. You need to put them on at least 20 minutes before exposure.
Examine your own skin regularly and report any new spot or any change in an old spot to your doctor as soon as possible. Skin cancer is often curable when caught early.