My 14 year old daughter brought home a permission slip for her to use a tanning bed. Should I sign it?

The short answer and one that most teenagers don’t like to hear: NO.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a report urging pediatricians and legislators to support a ban on access to tanning parlors for children younger than age 18.

Did you know that the amount of UV-A rays produced by some indoor tanning units are up to 15 times more powerful than the sun at its strongest point during the day?  UV-A rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing long-term damage like premature skin aging, skin wrinkling, sun spots, as well as contributing to skin cancer.

Ready for the typical teenager retort… “It’s not bad for you if it’s just 1 time in the tanning bed.”  Actually, just 1 burn from ultraviolet radiation, be it from the sun or an artificial source, increases the risk of developing skin cancer.

As for parental waivers or permission slips, I disagree with their use in order for a child to use a tanning bed.  The problem with a waiver policy for underage tanning, unlike your daughter, what is to stop a teen from simply leaving the tanning salon and signing the slip themselves?

There are safer ways to have your skin look tan (i.e. spray tanning and other sunless tanners) provided the product being used informs consumers of the content and the risks involved with the products use.

For specific questions regarding skin protection and the use of sun-less tanners, please consult with your physician.