Here in Texas, we are alternating hot days of wearing shorts with chilly days or grabbing jackets, which means it's nearly time for SPRING BREAK- hooray! Many students and their families head to the beach for spring break, and before the women don their bikinis, the quest for a "base tan" to avoid a sunburn begins. I have had many patients ask my advice on what is better- going to a tanning booth or braving the capricious weather outside. My answer? NEITHER.
The entire notion of a "base tan" has no scientific basis, nor support from dermatologists. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology (AADA) testified last year at FDA hearings about the risks of indoor tanning. These devices have shared the same low risk category as bandaids and tongue depressors, yet we have had medical evidence for years that they clearly cause skin cancers.