FIRST QUARTER 2005, VOLUME 19, NO 1

The Dangers You Don’t Know About

IN THIS ISSUE

Looking Ahead with Renewed Confidence

The Increasing Popularity of Hyaluronic Acids to Improve Folds and Wrinkles

Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

The Dangers You Don’t Know About

Exposing your skinoutdoors or at a tanning salonto ultraviolet- A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) light is dangerous. Your skin reacts by producing additional pigment to protect itself against burn from ultraviolet rays. This tanning increases your risk of skin cancer and of premature aging. You want to look healthy and glowing, but you shouldn’t damage your beautiful skin in the process; there is a healthier alternative.

Research
Tanning salons claim that they offer safe, gradual tanning with controlled UVA light. This is not true; the UVA exposure is damaging your skin and putting you at risk for skin cancer, sunspots, early wrinkling, and more.

Scientists at Dartmouth Medical School performed a study to determine if artificial tanning devices, such as sunlamps and tanning beds, increase your chance of developing skin cancer. The results were reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute , stating that people who used tanning devices were 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma than people who did not use tanning devices ( Feb. 6, 2002; 94(3):224-226).

Regulation
Over half of the states in this country are requiring teenagers under the age of 18 to have written permission from a parent to receive tanning services. The goal is to prevent children from engaging in this harmful activity and to send the message that tanning (indoor and outdoor) is dangerous with potential deadly hazards, not to mention early wrinkling and sunspots.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that manufacturers of tanning beds and sunlamp products affix warning statements to the product. In addition, as found on the FDA Web site, the government states, The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage people to avoid use of tanning beds and sunlamp products.

Reaction
Protect your skin. Although the effects of sun damage are not visible right away, the ultraviolet exposure is destroying cells in your skin. Stay away from tanning beds and sunlamps; apply sunblock (with a sun protection factor of at least 15) if you are planning to be outside for more than 20 minutes.

If you are looking for a golden glow alternative, try a bronzer or extender. Bronzers tint the skin temporarily and can be washed off with soap and water. Extenders interact with protein on the skin surface to bring out color in your skin; it also wears off after a few days. Some spas and salons offer a spray mist service, promoting an even application. However, the only color additive currently approved by the FDA for this purpose is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). Make sure you inquire or check the label of the product before applying.