DEAR ABBY: I love my daughter-in-law and I am afraid she is harming herself because of her addiction to tanning. Her boys are in high school and cannot remember their mother without a really dark tan. One son told his classmates in grade school that his mother was African-American when they were doing African-American studies. (She's Caucasian.)
My son says he cannot convince her to "lighten up" a bit. I don't know what to do. I am ... SO CONCERNED FOR HER IN ILLINOIS
DEAR SO CONCERNED: You are right to be concerned for your daughter-in-law. For years, dermatologists have cautioned the public about the dangers of exposure to the sun. With the invention of tanning beds, the rates of melanoma among young people have soared. For anyone who isn't aware, melanoma is an aggressive type of skin cancer that can be fatal.
Tanning can be addictive, and you should urge your daughter-in-law to discuss this with a dermatologist. Because tanning also causes premature aging of the skin, she should explore "sunless tanning," which is much safer.