Tanning beds do not offer safer tanning than the sun. The fact is, there is no such thing as a safe tan, and any kind of tan is a sign of skin damage that can have lethal consequences. Parents aren't always aware of this, and they need to consider the risks. The same ultraviolet rays in the sun and in the tanning salon penetrate the skin and cause the same damage. Teens think tanning beds are a safe alternative to the sun, but artificial ultraviolet rays are a known carcinogen, and they cause an increased risk for skin cancer. Melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, is on the rise in teens, and the unlimited and unregulated access teens have to tanning beds may be one of the reasons. The concentration of UV rays is actually much higher in some tanning beds than from the sun. Until there is legislation to regulate the use of tanning beds for children and teens, parents have to play a role in protecting their teens from the dangers of artificial tanning, as well as from sun exposure.

If you want to keep your teen from the tanning beds, spell out the dangers. Teens should know that tanning salons don't always make those dangers clear to their customers, and they don't limit exposure even though the ultraviolet rays are extremely intense and known to be harmful. The dangers of exposure to any kind of UV rays, from sun or artificial, should be clear; the consequences are skin cancer and premature skin aging and both are irreversible.