Early exposure to indoor tanning during adolescence or young adulthood increases the risk of early development of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Margaret R. Karagas, PhD, from Dartmouth University in Hanover, NH, and colleagues analyzed data on indoor tanning from 657 cases of BCC and 452 controls ≤ 50 years of age.

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The researchers found that early-onset BCC was related to indoor tanning, with an (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.6). With first exposure as an adolescent or young adult, the association was strongest with a 10% increase in OR with each age younger at first exposure (OR per year of age ≤ 23,1.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.0 to 1.2).

Associations were seen for all device types examined including sunlamps, tanning beds, and tanning booths.

“[The findings] underscore the importance of counseling adolescents and young adults about the risks of indoor tanning and for discouraging parents from consenting minors to this practice,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Karagas MK, Zens MS, Li Z, et al. Early-Onset Basal Cell Carcinoma and Indoor Tanning: A Population-Based Study. Pediatrics. 2014;doi:10.1542/peds.2013-3559.