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November 03, 2017 06:14 PM

Teen Tanning: What You Should Know

Sioux Falls, SD

Tanning salons can offer you a nice glow year round, but how old should you be before you catch your tan?

At least 42 states and the District of Columbia have age regulations on teen tanning...  But the state of South Dakota isn't one of them.  

It's a controversial topic. Should you let a teen use a tanning bed?

"The first time that I came in and tanned my mom came in with me and got me all signed up and she also signed like a form for my membership," Sara Waldner said.

20-year-old Sara Waldner has been tanning since she was 16 and says overall her experience has been good.

"I like to tan because I like the way my skin looks and feels after I tan," Waldner said. 

While you are able to tan under the age of 18, a parent must accompany you in person to sign this form before you set foot in a tanning booth.

"The state of South Dakota has no regulations. So, theoretically you could let someone tan at about any age but the reality is we've self-imposed a 14-year-old limit, to where if it's under 14 we will not let you tan without a doctors note," Owner of Sun Tan City Pat Chedester said. 

Sun Tan City says they enforce parental consent simply for the safety of the client.

"The unfortunate part is that teenagers sometimes find work around's for things, and use gyms or tanning beds at the apartment complex or at home," Chedester said

And that's when it gets dangerous. Without proper knowledge about tanning, you may wind up with a sunburn, vision damage, or premature wrinkles. 

"I think it's something where the parents should be involved. As my colleague said years ago, if your 16-year-old shows up in February with a tan in South Dakota, you know where they've been," Chedester said.

After signing up at Sun Tan City, you're prompted to take a skin typing chart. The chart helps identify what bed, how many minutes, and a lotion that's right for you to be sure you're not damaging your body. 

"That's the first thing you do when you sign up here, so I think that is really important," Waldner said. 

Waldner says with proper knowledge she feels safe using a tanning bed... but for those using at home tanning beds or one at a gym, she offers this advice. 

"Hop into a tanning salon and get the advice from the professionals who are trained to do it, who are trained to do it can tell you about that," Waldner said. 

If you're concerned that your teen shouldn't be in a tanning bed, Sun Tan City invites you to speak with an expert and even test out any tanning bed, tonight only until 10 p.m.

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