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Ultraviolet radiation

  • All the Facts You Need To Know About the Risks Associated With Indoor Tanning for Teens! By Fiona Erickson and Sophia Bernazzani (Guest Bloggers)

    NursingGeorgetown Tanning Infographic
    Of all the risky behaviors that teens may engage in, indoor tanning is one that’s most directly related to preventable and potentially deadly skin cancers — namely, melanoma. That’s why it’s important for teens, their parents, and healthcare providers to have a clear understanding about the facts of teenage indoor tanning — and why the risks are particularly high for adolescents.

    Indoor Tanning Trends Among Teens

    Although indoor tanning rates are trending down among high school students, the prevalence is still dangerously high. According to the 2013 U.S. Youth Risk Behavior Survey,  just over 20 percent of female high school students used an indoor tanning device in 2013 and 10.3 percent did so frequently. Most commonly, these were non-Hispanic white females.  Among male students, just over five percent engaged in indoor tanning, and two percent tanned frequently.

    To understand such trends, it’s important to know the motivation behind them. According to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, one central reason is the age-old symptom of youth: peer pressure. Social norms equate a tan with attractiveness and health. In addition, indoor tanning may actually be somewhat addictive — and researchers are currently evaluating if this is the case.

    How Teen Habits Impact the Overall Rate of Indoor Tanning in the U.S.
    The indoor tanning industry is definitely benefiting from the habits of teens — since it’s estimated that 2.3 million teens visit a tanning salon at least once a year. However, the increased evidence of risk has led to more regulations for the industry — with an ongoing call for even more.
    Currently, 44 states and the District of Columbia have some kind of law or regulation in place that restricts indoor tanning for minors under a certain age — and evidence suggests that such restrictions are effective in reducing usage in this population.

    The Risks of Indoor Tanning for Teens
    Indoor tanning exposes usersto two types of UV rays, UVA (tanning/aging and UVB (burning) — both of which damage skin and can cause various types of cancer. This is particularly the case for teens, who have a higher long-term risk for getting melanoma associated with indoor tanning behaviors — as well premature skin aging. Short-term risks include the potential for burns to the skin and eye damage if appropriate protection isn’t used.

    How Can Parents and Providers Discourage Indoor Tanning?
    In addition to the issues discussed previously, other factors which influence indoor tanning by teens include lack of awareness of the dangers involved, and the influence of the adults in their lives. Research has shown that parental acceptance of tanning has a strong influence on adolescent tanning behaviors, especially between mothers and adolescent daughters — so it’s important for parents to set good examples.
    In addition, in order to increase awareness, primary care providers need to properly educate young patients and appropriate education about the dangers of indoor tanning to their young patients and their families — as well as regular screenings for skin cancer detection. If everyone involved is armed with the facts about teenage indoor tanning, a coordinated effort can be achieved to help discourage this high-risk behavior.

     This infographic was produced by Nursing@Georgetown, the online Master of Science in Nursing degree from Georgetown University's School of Nursing & Health Studies.

  • Tanning: A Lifestyle in Need of Change by Alicia Walker (Guest Blogger)

    In Victorian England, pale skin was the coveted fashion necessity representing wealth and sophistication, whereas tanned skin was indicative of low socioeconomic status. Essentially, being tan meant you were a poor farmer. Fast forward to 1920's America, and the provocative Flapper style of icons like Coco Chanel popularized tanned skin as the new fashion accessory. Ever since the roaring twenties, people have had a huge misconception of what tanning is and its effect on the body. Although unfortunate, it is not surprising that it is the impressionable youth that has been most strongly affected by this dangerous trend.Indoor tanning kills

    Trips to tanning salons have progressed from being reserved for special events like prom, to a regular, even daily practice. Tanning salons across the country are taking advantage of young women’s need for “beauty” by marketing directly to these customers, with reduced prices and even free first sessions at the first sign of prom season. Despite the frequent lack of monetary price, the real payment these teens make is the accelerated aging, risk of infection, sunburns, and increased potential for the onset of skin cancers, particularly melanoma. The unfortunate irony is that in trying to attain perfection, these girls are tarnishing the natural beauty of their complexions.

    Indoor tanning before age 35 raises the risk of melanoma by 75 percent. The World Health Organization added tanning beds to its Group 1 List of carcinogens (the same category as cigarettes). According to the NCSL, 42 states regulate the use of tanning facilities by minors, and 11 of those states (plus the District of Columbia) ban indoor tanning for all persons under 18 (Massachusetts is working to be added to this list).
    However, it’s not just indoor tanning that is the problem here. The whole concept of soaking up radiation (whether natural or artificial) to fit the societal mold of “pretty” is the real danger in our modern world. Please, say no to tanning! Teach your children to respect the color of their skin and acknowledge its natural beauty. Help them to protect their bodies from the sun when in its rays, and to avoid exposure when at all possible. Teach today’s youth to stop valuing appearance over health.

    Go to to see videos and to take a poll about teens, tanning, and proms. There is a lot of information about the sad effects of indoor tanning. Read it and share your newfound knowledge with some teens you know.
    Be Safe. Be SunAWARE!

  • UV Photography teaches children about sun damage and sun protection

    OMG, that's frightening! Our motto is to prevent skin cancer one child at a time and not to make the sun the enemy. However, UV reflectance photography Quincy High Girlsprovides a powerful personal snapshot of pigment change related to sun exposure. Because the camera system shows melanin deposits not visible to the naked eye it raises awareness about sun damage and the importance of sun protection.

    For over a decade, we have used UV reflectance photography in our SunAWARE Program to educate children about skin cancer prevention. Children can clearly visualize their own skin and determine if they have sun damage. We remind children that they are not born with freckles but rather a genetic predisposition to develop freckling. We stress that melanin deposits develop at sites of excess sun exposure. We teach younger children that they need to give extra special attention to all areas where they have freckles. With older children, we educate them that freckles are a sign of sun damage and imparts an increased risk for skin cancer. We use this technology to drive home the importance of sun protection including sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and shade to protect the skin and prevent further damage

    Our very affordable and effective camera systems includes a newer model DSLR reflex camera adapted for UV reflectance photography by Life Pixel. We use the video mode for the demonstration and mount an 8-inch monitor on the hot shoe for enhanced viewing. Outdoors direct sunlight provides enough UV for imaging. For indoor programs, we use black lights for our UV light source. They are available online or at party stores. The black lights work by eliminating visible light while transmitting UV light. We position the black lights on either side of the subject.

    Another benefit to UV reflectance photography is that it allows us to demonstrate proper sunscreen application. Because chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays they appear black on the skin. We provide the child with sunscreen and ask them to apply it and then evaluate their application. We then ask them to look in the camera to see if they have missed any spots. Areas along the hairline, around the eyes, or rims of ears are common spots that people miss when applying sunscreen. We also demonstrate that sunscreens with physical blockers, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide makes their skin look lighter because they work by reflecting UV radiation away from the skin.

    With skin cancer increasing faster than any other cancer in the U.S. and one person dying every hour from the disease, our hope is that we can provide children and the people who care for them with a simple lesson about personal risk and proper sun protection.

    Leveret UV Camera System

    1. DSLR Camera (Rebel T5 i)
    2. camera battery Canon LP E8
    3. Canon lens 0.16 mm 0.52 ft 24 mm lens
    4. HDMI Mini cable
    5. Tripod
    6. light stands (2)
    7. reflectors with clamps (2)
    8. 2 black lights (22 Watt CFL)
    9. 8 inch monitor (Ikan VH8-E6)
    10. Monitor Battery Canon LP E6
    11. Fotyrig 7 inch magic arm
    12. battery charger(s)
    13. extension cord
    14. Extra batteries
        a. Canon LP E6 and LP E8




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