By Dr. Kathy Fields

I saw Hannah, a teenage patient, last week because she wanted to check in with me before flying to Hawaii next week for spring break. I’d seen Hannah frequently over the last six months while treating her severe acne and we had gotten to know each other quite well. So I immediately noticed a difference in her skin tone when she stepped into my office … her skin was much darker than it was the last time I saw her in January. Before leaving, I talked to her about sun protection for her trip; I wanted to make sure she knew how to protect her skin.

And I’m so glad I brought it up, because Hannah had been visiting the tanning salon and believed that the “base tan” she was building up would protect her from the sun. Although it’s not the first time I’ve heard this myth, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Because while a tan may look much better than a red, peeling burn, both are signs of sun damage and contribute equally to aging your skin.

What’s more, while tanning salons filter out most of the UVB (burning rays), their sun lamps emit significantly greater quantities of UVA (aging rays), which contributes to premature skin aging and increases the incidence of both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. And if you thought that was bad … a recent study of the top 10 tanning salons in New York City conducted by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found staff bacteria and fecal matter in every tanning bed tested.

Hannah was shocked after hearing this but I’m glad I got my message across. If you just can’t say no to that sun-kissed glow, fake it with self-tanner. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Skin is a beautiful thing … wear it well!

Debuting May 1st… the long awaited…R+F Sunless Tanner!

To find out how you can get your best sunscreen and a safe tan, contact me at 615-332-9995 or email me at