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Read between the (tan) lines

Published 12:01am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Whether its information from the Centers for Disease Control, the forfront of American medical information, or information from the Indoor Tanning Association, the details and safety aspects of tanning and the use of tanning beds vary greatly.

“The Food & Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control advise people to avoid tanning and the use of sun lamps. Both the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Dermatology are fighting to ban the non-medical use of tanning equipment. The CDC report that tanning beds also cause serious eye problems including conjunctivitis, corneal infections and retinal damage,” say the sources at Healthcentral.

But, read information from the trade association representing the tanning bed industry, the Indoor Tanning Association, and you quite a different opinion.

“Indoor tanning, for individuals who can develop a tan, is a smart way to minimize the risk of contracting sunburn while maximizing the enjoyment and benefit of having a tan,” the association writes in the Frequently Asked Questions portion of their website (www.theita.com). “In a professional indoor tanning facility, trained personnel teach tanners how their particular skin type reacts to sunlight and how to avoid sunburn — both outdoors as well as in the salon.”

Regardless of the side of the issue, both urge those seeking tans to be cautious of burning and to consult with a physician if any skin irregularities develop.

But, as the weather warms up, the beach and the pools will be calling, and the race to tan up will surely heat up.

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