Fit: New California law puts a burn on indoor tanning

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October 13, 2011

9:28 PM

If you’re like me, you are probably reaching that depressing point of the year when tan lines are fading and you’ve sworn never to show your pasty legs in public again. Of course there are plenty of ways to keep that just-got-back-from-the-beach look. Indoor tanning, one of the most popular and controversial options, may be become more and more difficult to do, though, with a legal battle brewing over the safety of tanning booths.

About 30 states have placed limits on indoor tanning for minors; however, this week California passed what is the strictest ban to-date on minors’ use of tanning booths. Under the new law, no minors can use a tanning bed, regardless of whether a parent is willing to give permission.

This new California law is gaining an overwhelming amount of support from health organizations around the world. The thought process behind the law is that early exposure to UV rays increases the risk of cancer later in life.

While these laws may seem intrusive, they are created under the same type of thinking that puts an age restriction on cigarette smoking. If the law can at least defer the habit until later in life, the risk of developing health problems associated with it are at least slightly diminished.

The new California law also shows that health organizations are serious about raising awareness about the hazards of indoor tanning. Because the risks of skin damage and cancer from tanning beds are so great, companies are increasing their efforts to market safe alternatives that will still enable people to keep their summer glow. My personal favorite of these options is natural glow tanners. While they can be streaky at times, they are affordable and generally prevent streaky coloring.

As the long, dark winter months approach, look into some of these safer tanning options to that will enable you to keep your sun-kissed look without risking your health.

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