Local dermatologist warns tanning beds are worse than sunbathing

By: Trishna Begam Email
By: Trishna Begam Email
Tanning bed

A local dermatologist wants you to know what you do to your skin now will affect you years down the road. (WRDW-TV / April 19, 2012)

News 12 This Morning / Thursday, April 12, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Although he thought he looked cool by burning in the sun, years later, Andy Kilpatrick is now seeing the effects on his skin.

"I've had numerous problems including two melanomas, numerous basal cells, couple of squamous," he said.

Dr. Anna Duckworth has to freeze his precancerous cells during a check-up, a routine Kilpatrick is all too familiar with.

"When we were young we had no idea we were doing permanent damage," he said. "We would lay out in the sun."

Even with new warnings and more knowledge, the trend hasn't changed over the years.

"My young patients can't see what they are doing now, 40 years from now, will make a difference in how they look," said Duckworth, a dermatologist with Savannah River Dermatology.

Duckworth not only wants her patients protected from the sun, but she wants them out of the tanning beds.

"It's more harmful because 93 to 99 percent of the light rays distributed by tanning beds are UVA light," she said.

Those are rays that don't usually burn but have an impact on the the development of skin cancer.

"UVA light is the ray that's more impactful on skin cancer such as melanoma," she said.

So make sure your sunscreen has protection against both UVB and UVA rays or you won't be completely covered.

Kilpatrick says he's trying to keep his children and his grandchildren from making the same mistakes as he did.

"They all have learned through my experience you can't do that," Kilpatrick said.

Duckworth says 15 minutes without sunscreen is all it takes to damage your skin. Stay in the sun for 90 minutes, and you'll likely get burned if you don't reapply. Duckworth says most tanning salons will require a minor to have a signed consent form to allow them to tan.

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