According to a recent survey, mothers and daughters may have a somewhat surprising point of accord in their respective indoor tanning habits. Researchers appealed East Tennessee State University students, investigating their indoor tanning habits. The survey was formed such that two important facts were determined from participants: the age at which they began to tan artificially and who was present during their first visit.
Out of 227 female students surveyed, approximately 40% had gotten their first tan with their mothers present. On average, these women started tanning at age 14. Of the women who began tanning with some other partner (i.e. friend, acquaintance, independently), the average onset age was 16.
Another curious finding was that women who were introduced to tanning through their mothers were five times more likely to be frequent tanners later on in life. Frequent tanners were classified as those who tanned artificially two or more times per month.
Whether due to lack of awareness of the associated risks or a higher value placed on tanned skin, women are putting themselves at undue risk by using tanning beds. Exposing oneself to harmful UV rays drastically increases the odds of skin damage and disease, not limited to skin cancer. Additionally, skin damage increases the likelihood of premature ageing significantly.
In 2009, the World Health Organization classified tanning bed exposure as a Class 1 carcinogen, the same class as arsenic and tobacco. Much the same way that parents try to prevent their children from engaging in other harmful behaviours, so should they when it comes to tanning.