Meet Natalie. She started tanning when she was 16 years old because she was convinced it made her feel prettier. During her college years, she would go once every 2 weeks and then began going once a week. She always joked about how she would get skin cancer, but thought it would never happen to her. When she was 21, her doctor noticed a spot on her back, which turned out to be melanoma; she went through many surgeries to remove cancerous skin. Now she is left with multiple scars and compares herself to looking like Frankenstein with all her scars. According to “Research Sheds Light on Indoor Tanning and Cancer Risk.” Journal of the National Cancer, ‘”People who use indoor tanning have a 15% higher rate of having basal cells and 11% higher chance of having melanoma compared to those who are not exposed to the tanning UV light” There are safer options for tanning that are worth trying. I know way too many people whose lives have been changed by the use of tanning beds, which is what sparked my interest in this subject.
Many of my friends and some of my family use the tanning bed as a confidence booster for feeling pretty rather than pale, but I wish they could understand that they are paying a large price for beauty. “People tanning before the age of 30 are 70% are more likely to develop melanoma” (Watson). Our society puts beauty before health by increasing their risk of skin cancer through the use of tanning beds, which I understand that people want to appear tan, but there are safer alternatives that can make one appear tan without risking his or her health. Tanning beds put you at greater risks for skin cancer and as well as premature aging which will be explored throughout this essay, as well as safer options for a sun kissed look. Tanning beds causes health issues, such as melanoma. Using a tanning bed for 20 minutes a day is the equivalent of spending 1-3 hours out in the sun without the use of sunscreen.
Indoor Tanning Restrictions and Regulations states that “Currently California, Illinois, Nevada, Texas and Vermont ban the use of tanning beds for all minors under 18, and at least 33 states and the District of Columbia regulate the use of tanning facilities by minors” I personally have used a tanning bed and am at an extremely high risk of developing skin cancer for the future. As I began to explore more in depth about this topic, nothing really seemed to sway me away from the tanning beds until I came upon these statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation stating that “Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.” When UVR was proven a human carcinogen it was a huge step; this had always been an idea but when it was a fact it opened the eyes to many tanning bed users.
Tanning industries have many conflicting thoughts about the dangers of tanning. Tanning industries negative opinions are that: 1. 87% believe that a person can be too young to tan (62)
2. 92% support at least written parental consent (61)
3. 65% have discouraged tanning because a customer was too young. (61) If so many people have this belief, why are more states not making new tanning regulations? The increase in information that is released that shows the negative effect of tanning on kids has caused some states to rethink their policies. This is required in some states, but not all. I believe that it should be required for all people under the age of 18. This was a fact that surprised me because I always think that tanning industries would be promoting the product. I wonder how young the people are that they are discouraging to not tan. However, there are some industries that have made statements saying “While our campaign will be controversial, it’s time people learned the truth about sun exposure,” Longwell said.
“Not only is moderate tanning completely safe, more and more it’s becoming just what the doctor ordered” (Levine). The ads say tanning actually is helpful because the body needs to get vitamin D from the sun. But one doctor said people can get their daily vitamin D requirement from food and a few minutes of sun a week. It is very controversial and shows the difference between opinions of some tanning industries and opinions of people who disagree with indoor tanning. Before 1923, tan skin was considered unattractive but that year, the fashion designer Coco Chanel popularized the tan by going on a trip and coming back bronzed. After that, society became obsessed with tan skin, but back in the day they were unaware of the dangers tanning caused. States should keep in mind the dangers and effects tanning can cause and comes with great consequences. Beauty is a price, but your life is too big of a price to pay.
Leamy, Elisabeth, and Allen Levine. “New Ads Claim Tanning Is Good for You.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 27 Mar. 2008. 12 Sept. 2013. Polsky, David, MD, and Steven Q. Wang, MD. “Skin Cancer Information.” Skin Cancer Facts. Skin Cancer Foundation, 12 Feb. 2013. 15 Sept. 2013. Apollo, Monica, and Richard Muma. “A Study of Tanning Operators in the State of Kansas: Their Attitudes and Stated Practices Regarding Minors and Tanning.” GRASP Symposium. 2007. 13 September, 2013. Watson, Meg. Dawn M. Holman, Kathleen A. Fox, Gery P. Guy, Andrew B. Seidenberg, Blake P. Sampson, Craig Sinclair, and DeAnn Lazovich. “Preventing Skin Cancer Through Reduction of Indoor Tanning.”Clinical Key (2013). American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2013). Web. 13 September, 2013. “Indoor Tanning Restrictions for Minors – A State-by-State Comparison.” Indoor Tanning Restrictions and Regulations. National Conference of State Legislatures. Aug. 2013. 15 Sept. 2013. Schmidt, Charlie. “Research Sheds Light on Indoor Tanning and Cancer Risk.” Journal of the National Cancer Institution 104 (2012). Oxford Journals (2012). Web. 14 September, 2013.