With proms, graduations and summer right around the corner many folks in Missouri may be tempted to hit the tanning bed for a nice glow. But experts warn there is a direct connection between indoor tanning and deadly skin cancer.

Press Release from the Missouri News Service

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Proms, graduations and summer are right around the corner, and many people in Missouri are probably tempted to hit the tanning bed for a nice glow. But experts warn there is a direct connection between such “fake baking” and deadly skin cancer.

Dr. Kari Kendra, an associate professor of oncology, says research shows regular tanning bed use increases a person’s melanoma risk by 75 percent. And she says there are other factors to consider, as well.

“In addition to the cancer risk, it’s a very short-term change. The more tanning bed use that people have, the faster their skin will look older; we call it ‘photo-aging.’ They’re going to age much faster and look worse than somebody who avoids it.”

Unlike natural sunlight, Dr. Kendra says, the light from indoor tanning doesn’t produce a pigment that naturally protects the skin from UV rays, nor does it stimulate the production of vitamin D.

May is National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, and Dr. Kendra says it’s a good time for people of all ages to start performing skin checks once a month.

“Look behind the legs, have somebody look at your back, the back of the neck, the back of the ears. And particularly, what you’re looking for is any moles that are changing; it could be changes in color, changes in size, changes in shape.”

Dr. Kendra says if you notice changes in any moles, bring them to the attention of your physician.