Tanning takes over with severe health risks

By Brittany Liberatore
September 15, 2006

Summer is not the only season when bronzed bodies can be seen. Nowadays, even in the dead of winter, people walk around looking as if they just stepped off a plane from a Hawaiian vacation.

Let’s be fair, some people do take winter trips to warm, sunny places to escape the bitter cold months, returning with a tan glow. However, on the other side of the spectrum, millions of people jump into their cars and visit their favorite tanning salon where they can get that nice tan, well, fake glow.

As I have gotten older, I have seen the obsession with being tan grow, therefore increasing the popularity of tanning salons.

In high school for proms, dances or other special occasions, I can understand that girls want to be tan in their dresses, I was there once too.

But I think that more and more people, especially girls, are abusing tanning salons. People are getting caught up in making image their number one priority, neglecting one of the most important things in life: health.

Many dermatologists are now comparing tanning beds to be as unhealthy as cigarettes. There has been a push to create laws restricting any person under the age of 18 the use of tanning beds. Dermatologists are going up against a $5 billion a year indoor tanning industry and not seeing many restrictions being put into affect.

I believe that it is everyone’s choice whether or not they want to take part in the tanner is better fad. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be tan all year around, but I know that is unrealistic and more importantly I recognize the health risks. There has been research done proving that too much sun is unhealthy. For example, studies have shown that ultra- violet rays from natural sun and sun lamps can be linked to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer and other forms of skin cancer.

Being tan in the summer is enough for me. All the sun I get in the summer may not be the best for my skin, but for me personally it is acceptable, especially when I think about the people some call “tanorexic.” Call me old fashioned, but I still think that from the middle of fall until the beginning of summer, it’s natural not to be tan.

In my opinion everyone has the right to decide how much tanning is too much. My only words of advice for the growing population of year-around tanners would be to do a little research on the risks of tanning. Sometimes trying to be physically appealing in your younger years can hurt you as you age. Who would want to discover they have skin cancer and they caused it? Not me.

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Brittany Liberatore

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