The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) taking aim on tanning and the health risks associated with it as part of May being Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. The agency is urging Michiganders to protect their skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays by addressing and correcting common misconceptions about tanning.

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“According to the CDC, indoor tanning can cause skin cancer including melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer,” says Eden Wells, MD, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “Indoor tanning is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin indoor tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have a higher risk of getting skin cancer. People need to protect their skin and limit their exposure to ultraviolet rays, whether from the sun or indoor tanning beds.”

MDHHS is tellling all Michigan residents that:

Controlled tanning is not safe tanning
A base tan is not a safe tan.
Tanned skin is not healthy skin

A tan is how the body responds to injury from ultraviolet (UV) rays, showing that damage has been done. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Burning Truth awareness campaign sets the record straight on tanning and skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States.

A 2013 study found that one in five high school females still engaged in indoor tanning and about one in ten girls used an indoor tanning bed 10 or more times during the year. Using a tanning bed before the age of 35 is associated with a higher risk of developing melanoma.

The American Cancer Society projects that in Michigan, there will be more than 2,500 cases and 300 deaths due to melanoma in 2016. They urge people to protect their skin from the harmful effects of UV rays by avoid the sun during the middle of the day,covering exposed skin, wearing sunglasses and a hat and also using sunscreen appropriately to lower your risk for skin cancer. Avoid tanning beds and check your skin regularly and be sure to talk with your doctor if you notice any changes with your skin.

The American Cancer Society site has photographs to learn what skin cancer and melanoma. They also have information on lowering your risk for skin cancer.