Tanning Beds Banned for Under 18 in Calif.; Expert Weighs in

Rachel Adler

In the state where being sun-kissed is probably the most prevalent on the beauty to-do list, a bill has been signed into law that prevents children 18 years and under from using tanning beds.

The new bill will take effect January 1 — the current law in California bans children 14 and under from using the beds, and requires 15 to 17 year olds to get permission from their parents. Other states have passed legislation that varies on whether or not a parent needs to be present or simply needs to give written consent.

Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board certified dermatologist and author of the upcoming book, Skin Rules, confirms what we already believed to be true about tanning beds. “The damage done in tanning beds is much worse. The UVA rays in tanning beds penetrate more deeply. The skin doesn’t visibly burn which gives people a false sense of security. These tanning bed rays damage your elastic tissue, decrease the skin’s production of collagen, and waken your immune system. If you’ve been in a tanning bed before the age of 30, the risks of melanoma increase by 75 percent.

This is obviously what was taken into consideration in California, where the author of the recent bill, state Sen. Ted Lieu pointed out that there are more tanning salons in Los Angeles County than Starbucks or McDonald’s.

We’ll have to wait and see if more states follow suit, but one quick way to scare you out of using the beds (or your teens) is to remind them of what they do — and we’re not just talking about the increase of your chances of skin cancer. Dr. Jaliman put it this way: “If you want to look years older than your true age, have deep wrinkles in places you never expected, and ruin the texture and color of your skin, then a tanning salon is the place for you.”


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