Well, it’s that time. Sun’s coming out and you know what that means–go to the tanning salon to get your starter tan. For some people, tanning in a UV bed is a year long practice. Well indoor tanners beware: Tanning beds can up your risk of skin cancer.

British cancer experts report that melanoma, a deadly type of skin cancer, is now the leading form of cancer found in women in their 20s. And based on the current numbers, they predict that it will be the the fourth most common cancer for men and women of all ages by 2024. What makes this especially worrying is that people in their 20s are not generally susceptible to melanoma–it’s usually found in people over 75.

This trend is thought to be the result of heavy tanning salon use. According to one researcher,

“Spending time on sunbeds is just as dangerous as staying out too long in the sun. The intensity of UV rays in some sunbeds can be more than 10 times stronger than the midday sun.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that tanning beds be regulated because of their potential to damage DNA. 29 states have regulations against minors using tanning beds without the consent of a parent.

It never ceases to amaze me this tanning salon phenomenon. Someone please tell me, what’s wrong with the sun?!?! Oh no, I gotta be tan…now! Whatever. I personally take the middle ground here: Humans need sun–it provides us with vitamin D. And based on a recent report that Americans on average are low in their D levels, we need more sun.

But the fear mongers (in this case, dermatologists) have been working hard, and have been pushing this “stay out of the sun (and have every freckle burned off)” agenda. So what have people done? They either avoid sun altogether (porcelain dolls) or they go nuts inside the tanning booth (tanorexics). Yeah, yeah, yeah…don’t bother telling me about the Magic Tan. Everybody knows you’ve been sprayed–it’s not fooling anyone.

Listen, we all need sun. Get out and enjoy it. Use sunscreen and don’t allow yourself to get burned. Simple sun-enomics. Avoid the tanning salons, or increase your risks of getting skin cancer. Simple as that.

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