Lawmakers may curb use of tanning beds by children under 18

Frequent exposure can cause cancer

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“I’ve always lived in California, and I wanted to have the blond hair and the brown skin and live up to all that California girl stuff,” said Mrs. Andrews, who now protects her naturally pale skin with regular use of sunscreen. “I remember thinking I was so ugly when I was my own skin color.”

At age 35, she was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma on her leg, and she is now vigilant about watching her skin for signs of cancer. She attributes the cancer to her time in the tanning bed, which she also came to rely on for the euphoric buzz she would feel after the experience.

Exposure to UV rays from tanning beds or the sun may be addictive because the radiation may cause release of endorphins in the skin, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For the past five years, Long Beach, Calif., resident Samantha Healey has slipped into a tanning bed up to four times a week.

“I almost get, like, re-energized,” the 23-year-old said.

Miss Healey has worked in tanning salons in California and Nevada and said rebellious teens do try to forge their parents’ signatures.

Wayne LaVassar, who owns 14 tanning salons in the Los Angeles area, said he requires parents to come in to sign permission slips at his California Tanning Salons. Requiring in-person authorization would be an appropriate middle ground instead of a ban, he said.

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