tanning

October 3, 2011
We are now living in an unrealistic media-based world, where physical appearance is everything. As teens, we look up to celebrities and socialites, who seem to be perfect. We believe we should be perfect, just like the people in Hollywood. One way young women keep up with the “perfect” image is having flawless tan skin. How do they achieve this look; tanning beds. Indoor tanning is harmful to the body as well as the mind, and it should be regulated. Tanning beds may help you overcome the winter blues, but without you knowing it, this unregulated industry can be causing you both physical and psychological damage.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), attempts to regulate salons in many states such as New York and Virginia. Even though rules are in place, salons are not responding. The problem with tying to regulate this industry, is that there is no way to enforce the rules. Salons seem to be on the “honors system” businesses are supposed to provide all clients with protective eyewear or have a machine operator present during a clients session. A sign is also required in the booth, warning people that tanning puts them at risk of skin damage. Salons also frequently exceed UV limits by 95%. Dr. Michael Franzblau MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California School of Medicine, thinks that eliminating tanning salons “would be 100 percent more effective” then regulating them. This action could possibly save millions and millions of lives.

The big day is only one week away. You have the dress, shoes and everything is in place. But something isn’t right. You feel like you’re not dark enough, so you tan for a continuous week. By the end of the week, instead of beautifully bronze, you are now an awful shade of oompa-loopa orange. Even though indoor tanning can be quick and easy is could have harmful long-term effects on your body. With tanning beds dangerous radiation, they have been shown to cause many types of skin cancers and other problems. In 2002 a study from Dartmouth Medical School found that people who use tanning beds had 2.5 times the risk of squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times the risk of getting basal cell carcinoma. Tanning can also cause premature aging of the skin. UVA rays break down the collagen and elastin in our skin. This stimulates faster wrinkling. Do you really want to look fifty when you’re only thirty? This harmful radiation also can cause age and sun spots on the skin. Research says that overexposure to UV radiation can suppress the immune system. This would make the body less able to fight off sickness and infection like the common cold and the flu.


Not only can tanning effect your body, believe it or not, it can also effect your mind. Tanning can become a psychological addiction, just like an eating disorder. It becomes something to overcome, a perceived physical flaw people have about themselves. A young tanner is like an anorexic teen, self-conscious, with a warped self-image, and low self -esteem. They simply believe they aren’t good enough no matter how hard they try. No matter how dark they become or how many hours they spend in a tanning bed, they look in the mirror and still see Casper. These teens tan and tan until they have become “perfect”. As teenagers, we need to accept that we are still young and are bodies are changing. Not one person is perfect; we all have flaws.


Tanning is now a big business industry reporting 2 billion dollars a year. As many as 28,000 Americans tan, and more than 10,000 of them are adolescent girls and teens. With about 25,000 salons around the country, tanning numbers are on the rise. Natural sunlight gives off both UVA and UVB rays tanning beds give more UVA. UVA rays penetrate the skin deeper causing more damage to the body. Where UVB rays do not penetrate as deep. With no regulations being followed, the only way to control it is to shut it down. Tanning and being tan is not true beauty. We need to believe that we are beautiful no matter what our skin tone is.





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