Tanning mom take note! How high school seniors are pledging to avoid sunbeds ahead of prom
15:53 GMT, 15 May 2012
High school students across the U.S. are signing pledges to avoid tanning beds and sunbathing ahead of their prom.
Seniors at First Baptist Academy in Dallas, Texas, told how they shunned the bronzed look in favour of their natural skin tone.
The pledge was created in a bid to raise awareness about how the use of tanning beds raises the risk of skin cancer.
Pale and interesting: Seniors at First Baptist Academy in Dallas, Texas, signed a pledge to avoid tanning beds and sunbathing ahead of their prom
Kristen Verhuiden, who organised the pledge, got almost unanimous support from the school's juniors and seniors.
She told local station WFAA: 'Girls look beautiful the way they are, in the skin they are in.
'We're just going to go natural and be confident in who we are.'
The Dallas teens aren't the only ones. Seniors
at Maynard High School in Maynard, Massachusetts, whose prom took place
on Friday, also signed a no-tan pledge ahead of the school dance.
Senior Allison Bosse, who lead the idea, says the trend for tanned skin is particularly popular at her school.
Unanimous support: Kristen Verhuiden, who organised her school's pledge, persuaded almost all junior and senior students to sign
She told ABC News: 'Our school is known for a lot of people tanning. Kids start in March because they want to be tan in their dresses for prom.'
But despite her efforts to explain the risks of exposure to UV rays, not all students were ready to embrace the no-tan prom pledge.
'A couple of people said, “I like tanning too much, I can't sign that. I won't get skin cancer,”' Allison admitted.
'But it seemed like a lot really listened and weren't going to do it anymore.'
Tan ban: Massachusetts teen Allison Bosse persuaded her fellow seniors to shun tanning beds ahead of prom
Indeed, she made huge a difference and of her 283 fellow seniors, 209 signed the pledge.
'More people showed up with their natural skin color than in previous years, and everyone looked beautiful,' she said.
'You don't have to be tan. Natural is just as good.'
The American Melanoma Foundation has reported that melanoma is the second most common
cancer among 15 to 29-year-olds, and blames the rise on teenagers' use of tanning beds.
The organisation warned that melanoma is behind 75per cent of skin cancer deaths.
Dr Jennifer Stein, an assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, told ABC: 'There's
a lot of pressure for teenagers to look tan. It's really important to
try to change the way teenagers think about tanning beds.'
Deb Girard, executive director of the Melanoma Foundation of New England, added that her organisation was taking steps to educate local high school students about the risks of UV rays.
She explained: 'The number of kids that report tanning
for the prom is extremely high.
'This is the age group
that has a high utilization of tanning beds, and it's for very
event-specific kinds of things.'