Check Minimum Recommended Age for Indoor Tanning State Wise

Most of the skin damage caused by the sun or UV rays from the tanning bed occurs before the age of 18. If children or adolescents go through severe sunburns and overexposure to UV radiation, there is a high probability of developing skin cancer in their older years.

People below the age of 18 are best advised not to go in for tanning. They may be allowed by law though, if they are above 14 and have permission from their parents.

Since exposure to UV can be so damaging in the early years, certain laws have been put into place. Currently 28 states and 4 counties in the US regulate the use of tanning facilities. The minimum age is different for each state, mostly around 14 years.

Those between 14 to 18 years of age need parental permission. Some states require a parent to be present in person while others allow it with a written consent. If written consent of parents is there, the tanning facility operator must verify all the documents thoroughly before allowing teens in. Those above the age of 18 can go in without parental consent.

Since the laws for each state is different, you are better advised to look for laws applicable in your own state.

Some states need a written order from a physician in addition to parental consent. Tanning salon operators who do not abide by these rules are not allowed to continue their operations.

Efforts are being made to tighten the laws because kids below 16 are more prone to burns, immune system suppression, cosmetic-induced photosensitivity and an increased melanoma risk. Adolescents don't realize that because the symptoms like wrinkles and leathery skin appear much later in life. According to the Colorado Cancer Coalition, skin cancer accounts for nearly one-third of all new cancer cases and the primary cause is exposure to UV radiation at a young age.

Teens with extremely fair skin, usually characterized by blue or green eyes, blonde or red hair and freckles should never go tanning as they are the most vulnerable of the lot.

Although the laws are in place, there seems to be scant regard among teenagers. Lawmakers are now suggesting that since the use of tobacco has been effectively curtailed for those below 18, a similar action should be reproduced for indoor tanning as well. Consumption of tobacco has reduced by 40% among teens after the rules came in, and with indoor tanning even better results could be achieved because there is more transparency.