Health Experts Urge Lawmakers to Tighten the Reigns on Tanning S - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Health Experts Urge Lawmakers to Tighten the Reigns on Tanning Salons

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Prom is right around the corner and that means lots of teens bronzing up that skin for that sun-kissed look.

Teens are jumping the gun on the sun and one local shop is soaking it all up.

Linda Aschemann just took ownership of Total Tan by Linda, a tanning company in Quincy, just in time for busy season.

But even as prom-goers sit in classrooms adult tanners are rearing to go to get that sun-kissed glow to ready for summer.

"It's the best time of the year." said Aschemann. "The younger kids want to get dark and get themselves all prettied up."

Illinois companies like Aschemann's have strict guidelines to follow. But many states - like Missouri - are more lax, without any restrictions on age.

Health experts are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to tighten the reigns on tanning salons, particularly when it comes to teen tanners, before melanoma skyrockets.

Hannibal's Riverside Dermatology's nurse practitioner Susan Voss says many teens either don't know or just don't think about what it's doing to their skin.

"There is no such thing as a safe tan," said Voss. "So any claims made that it's safe are very misleading. UV-A and UV-B both have been proven to increase skin cancer rates."

Voss says even tanning "just for prom" can up a teen's chances for melanoma by 75 percent.

Voss says to keep an eye out for changing freckles or any change in the skin. She says it's better to be safe than sorry - to go get it checked out if you're worried because, just like any other form of cancer, it can spread very quickly and is deadly.

Illinois has much tighter regulations when it comes to tanning.

For instance, Aschemann says Illinois has a twenty-four hour rule. Companies in Quincy could lose patrons to Missouri salons. And young tanners can tan without mom and dad's permission in Missouri as well. Something they can't do in Illinois.

While Aschemann says she thinks most people are generally smart about their skin, she says regulations at the federal level couldn't hurt.

"People that come here like eleven o'clock in the afternoon and the following day they might want to come in at ten thirty because they're headed to work. They can't do that here, but they could go across the bridge and they could do that there," said Aschemann.

Voss offers up what she calls a safer plan for those who follow her advice to stay out of the sun and out of sunless beds.

"Stay out of the tanning bed. Get a spray tan. There's also some over-the-counter products that you can start using a few days or weeks before prom to kind of give you a more natural color as well. Some bronzers," said Voss. "Those are the things we recommend."

One bill in Missouri would require anyone younger than seventeen to get parental permission to tan.

Another would ban anyone under six from using a tanning bed in a business.

A bill introduced in the Illinois Senate would completely ban tanning beds for anyone 17 and under.

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