Joplin, MO For many, the goal is to build great color with a tan - but the potential cost could be skin cancer. Freeman Dermatologist Derek Towery said, "UV B, we know is carcinogenic. It's what causes the sunburn. And without question, even in small doses, causes skin cancer."
Towery says that the body is built to repair DNA damage caused by tanning - but that that damage can add up. "It can repair a couple of damaged DNA particles in the skin. But when you have so many DNA damaged, or if there's additional mutations that occur because of UV light, then the body might not be able to overcome those."
Dr. Towery says while it's never a good idea to tan, it's even worse for younger patients. "Very young skin is much more susceptive to DNA damage. They have less ability to repair that DNA, the repair mechanism, the susceptibility to sunburn."
With indoor tanning, Towery says he doesn't mind three or four sessions for a special occasion. "And they limit it to just a few sessions and not become hooked on it and do it all year round."