Aiming for that perfect tan is a goal many strive for especially when proms, weddings, or vacations begin popping up in the warmer months, but even if your heading somewhere now health officials caution you to avoid the tanning beds beforehand.

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"Indoor tanning is designed to give you a high level of U.V. radiation in a short time," said Leslie Terjesen, spokesperson for the Ocean County Health Department.

She explained that no matter what time of year it is, a tan can cause damage to the skin, and stressed that heading to a tanning booth could have long lasting and damaging health consequences.

"Indoor tanning can cause skin cancers including Melanoma which is the deadliest type of skin cancer," said Terjesen. "It also causes premature skin aging, wrinkles, age spots, changes your skin texture and increases the risk for potentially blinding eye diseases," she said.

Terjesen added, other types of skin cancers that you can develop with exposure to these harmful U.V. rays include Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma, as well as developing cancer of the eye or cataracts.

"Laying in the direct sun and in a tanning bed, are just not good for your skin," cautioned Terjesen.

She stressed the potential danger for younger people using tanning booths as well.

"When teenagers use tanning booths, it actually puts them at a higher risk for melanoma when they're older," said Terjesen.

Terjesen advised those who choose to be exposed to the potentially harmful rays of tanning beds to avoid them all-together because the damage they can do to your skin.

Terjesen pointed out there are safer alternatives to tanning beds such as, "bronzing powders or self-tanners."

Whether you are heading off to a winter getaway or working on your tan to prepare for beach season 2017, Terjesen stressed the importance of protecting your skin before laying in the sand.

"You want to get a good sun lotion or cream that has a sun protection factor no less than 30," said Terjesen.

She added that it's important to keep re-applying the lotion after getting out of the water or after sweating a lot.

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