The Dark Side of Tanning This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Perhaps it's just resentment about my inability totan, but even so, I just don't understand why anyone wouldwant to expose themselves to ultraviolet UVA and UVB rays.Mother Sun doesn't give off enough natural sunlight thatpeople have to expose themselves for up to 30 minutes in atiny, claustrophobia-inducing machine that gives off as muchharmful radiation exposure?

First of all, if someonehas their heart set on getting that "perfect,"golden tan because (as we all know) the typical American teenis portrayed as tall, thin and - you guessed it - tan, whynot just get some healthy exercise and "tan" whiledoing something productive? Considering the money and timespent on artificial tanning, is it worth it? Imagine spending20 minutes, on average, in a confined space, for $10-15 a pop.And that amount of time doesn't even have much of an effect.To get results, people need up to six sessions to see adifference. That's $60 minimum. I'm not saying naturalsunlight is better and has no ill effects, but why waste timeand money for tanning salons?

One might have a perfecttan today, but 20 years down the line, are you going to behappy to look in the mirror and see a face full of dry skinand wrinkles? Even worse, what if all those rays lead to skincancer? In America today, skin cancer is the most common formof cancer. People receive enough sunlight walking down thestreet; why increase your risk on purpose for vanity's sake?While it's not what anyone wants to think of while feeling theheat of the sun and imagining their perfect tan, wouldn't yourather be safe than sorry?

All right, I've explainedthe detriments of receiving fake sun in confined spaces asopposed to natural sunlight, but did anyone ever consider notgetting tan at all? For some, this may be only used in extremecases, but how about sunscreen? The ultimate way (besidesbecoming a hermit and staying inside all day) to protectyourself is available almost anywhere for about $8 a bottle.Not only can this last all summer for some people, it's alsothe most effective way to decrease a person's risk of wrinklesand skin cancer.

I know that not getting that deep,bronze tan every summer may seem like an alien concept tosome, but considering the long-term benefits, it just could beworth it. Sure, you may be teased for being pigmentallychallenged now, but won't it be nice to be pigmentallychallenged without wrinkles or threats of melanoma years downthe road? Just remember, "Rays today, raisinstomorrow."

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 10 at 8:31 am
i love this so much!
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