Tanning consent law takes effect Thursday

A law requiring written permission for anyone under the age of 17 to use a tanning bed will take effect Thursday.

A law requiring written permission from a parent or guardian for anyone under the age of 17 to use a tanning bed will take effect Thursday.

One Jefferson City tanning salon owner says she's been requiring parental consent from teenaged tanners for years.

"There is no teenager under the age of 18 that does not have a parent's consent to tan here," Melissa Crede, owner of Sun City, said.

Crede said that might have deterred teen tanners from using her salon. But now that all tanning salons will be required to get parental consent, that may bring teen tanners in.

"I am a parent of a teenager. So I don't think that a 15, 14, 16 year old girl should be able to come in here, take the chance that something's going to happen to their skin and I have to reap the repercussions from their parents," Crede said.

Right now, teens account for about 20 percent of her clientele.

"I absolutely would let my child do this under my supervision and making sure that the tanning place is also monitoring what they're doing," Crede said.

While Crede hopes the new law will make it safer for those who chose to tan, a local dermatologist hopes it will stop teens from tanning altogether.

"We are seeing an increased risk of melanoma in women aged 20-25 and we feel like that probably is due to the fact that more young girls are using tanning beds," Dr. Robyn McCullem, a dermatologist at Jefferson City Medical Group, said.

Dr. McCullem says skin cancer is caused by cumulative ultraviolet exposure, beginning from the time a person is born.

"And it adds up over time. So if you get a lot of exposure when you're a young kid in your teenage years, you're going to be at an increased risk for melanomas and other skin cancers later in life," McCullem said.

McCullem recommends keeping an eye out for new and changing moles on your body. She also recommends wearing sunscreen to protect from outdoor ultraviolet light, in addition to those from a tanning bed.