Keeping your golden glow, and your skin

The risk of skin cancer jumps 75% if tanning beds are used before age 30.

You know them when you see them âÄî they look like they just left the beach even though itâÄôs the thick of another Midwest winter. Pale as ghosts standing next to them, we wonder how they keep such a great complexion when the sun hasnâÄôt shined in days. They are tanning fanatics, and according to a recent study, their skin might not be so gorgeous in a few years. With a tanning booth, one can sit in artificial sunlight a few times a week and keep the elusive tan tone so many crave. However, doctors and specialists are now discovering some dangerous side effects that come with the complexion. Jen Elmore, 24, works at Planet Beach spa in Rosedale. An avid bed tanner for years, she said she started noticing freckles on her whole body as well as dry and wrinkly skin. The culprit? Overexposure in the tanning beds. Cutting out her time in the bed, she switched to tanning sprays and lotions to stop the damage being done to her skin. Due to new regulations, Jen and her coworkers are required to give patrons a skin-type evaluation before they can use a tanning bed. Those of type 1, typically fair-skinned with light hair, arenâÄôt allowed in the beds. In fact, the other Planet Beach locations are notified and given the patronâÄôs information so that they arenâÄôt allowed to use the beds there either. Good news for the International Agency for Research on Cancer, whose recent 2009 study recommended tanning beds be classified as âÄúcarcinogenic to humans.âÄù Instead of beds, Jen is encouraging people to switch to Mystic Tan, a spray-on solution and brown sugar byproduct. UV-free, it gives 5-7 days of a tan complexion without the cancer-causing side-effects. Whether homecoming, that awesome dance party on Como or an upcoming vacation to Mexico, be sure your desire to tan is worth the risk. The sun is going down a little earlier now, so take advantage of the lower UV radiation and do not replace it with tanning treatment in the booth. Looking a little darker now is not worth leathery, wrinkled skin by age 40 or malignant melanoma by 45.