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If you're thinking of hitting the tanning salon, you may be out of luck. A new California law bans kids under 14 from getting "fake bakes." And in 27 states, teens need their parents' permission to tan indoors.

Why do lawmakers care about your tan? Like the sun, tanning beds emit ultraviolet (UV) rays. When these invisible energy waves hit your skin, they can damage its DNA (chemical that carries hereditary information), increasing your risk for skin cancer.

Despite UV warnings, many people are still ray-seekers. Why? They may be UV addicts. Steve Feldman, a dermatologist (skin doctor) at Wake Forest University, believes UV rays cause the skin to release anti-pain agents called endorphins, which make tanners feel relaxed. "It seems that frequent tanners are doing it for the buzz," he says. To keep from getting hooked on harmful UV rays, think before you roast.

Did You Know?

* According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly half of all new cancer cases in the United States each year are skin cancers. It is estimated that more than 1 million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year.

* Exposure to UV radiation causes photoaging, or premature aging of the skin. People who sunbathe regularly can show signs of photoaging, such as wrinkles and sagging skin, before age 30.


* For extensive information about sun protection, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SunWise Program at:

* Read about the dangers of tanning beds at:

* To learn more about tanning addiction, read:
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Health; effects of ultraviolet rays
Author:Adams, Jacqueline
Publication:Science World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 7, 2005
Previous Article:Quick quiz.
Next Article:Sproiiing!

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