Teen Tanning

October 3, 2011
By Abbers789 BRONZE, Hartville, Ohio
Abbers789 BRONZE, Hartville, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The doctor walks into the room where a young girl sits nervously on a table with her mother by her side, squeezing her hand. They fear the worst as he removes the paperwork from tan folder he is holding. He announces to the young girl that she, in fact, has melanoma and both she and her mother begin to weep uncontrollably. But how could a girl her age get melanoma? She was a teen tanner. With the need to be tan increasing, the dreaded melanoma, and the aging skin growing more prevalent in teenagers, UVA tanning needs to be banned for anyone under the age of eighteen.

Every teenager wants to look their best; there is no doubt about that. With school, with sports and with life in general, judgment is everywhere! Pale skin is no longer seen as beautiful, in fact at times, some consider it to be ugly. Being tan is what is “in”. Girls copy celebrities on television, or the models they see in magazines. Guys do it to become a stereotypical man: tan and muscular. So what do they do to satisfy their need to be tan? They simply leap into a UVA tanning bed and “cook” themselves to a perfect, golden brown. Then their friends think it looks really good and they go, then their friends go and the chain continues link by link.

But what effects does tanning really have on the skin? Sun is supposed to be good for you right? Without the proper protection, harmful UVA rays can cause a dangerous and sometimes fatal, skin disease called melanoma. Shelly Bresett knows what melanoma can do to lives and families personally. She lost her husband to the disease in 2006 due to his love of tanning beds in the late 1990’s. She said, “It was horrible. Your whole life was changes from the minute your loved one is diagnosed. The bottom line, it’s not worth the risk.” She is right (Weeks). Every year, according to the American Cancer Society, one million new cancer cases are diagnosed in the USA and there are more than seven thousand deaths due to melanoma alone.

Aging skin also factors in as a consequence of constantly tanning. Your skin wrinkles, your skin sags, your skin dies. Entrepreneurs have definitely taken a notice and began formulating new ideas to find a tanning product that will not harm teens. One of these people is Jennifer Flavon-Stallone, who came up with the Jet Tan Airbrush Tanning System. She calls it “a timer saver, a money saver, and a lifesaver”. She believes in scaring kids, showing them what their skin will look like when they are twenty-five year olds, continuing this horrible habit. They may be tan, but they look like the middle aged people that they should not be yet (Puente).

Teen tanning in UVA beds is a serious issue. The Canadian Cancer Society is looking to make the tanning beds a voting issue in Ontario and in Nova Scotia; anyone under nineteen may not use indoor tanning beds. Thirteen of the states enacted laws over teen tanning, making parents sign off before their child may go under the rays. Salon owners are outraged! Says Rhonda Venuoto, a spokeswoman for Hollywood Tan’s 200 salons, “Absolutely ludicrous! We need sunlight to live. When you’re tanning in moderation, there’s nothing wrong with it.”(Weeks). But if there was nothing wrong with it, why is it in the process of being banned?
I pray that the population will come together as one to ban tanning. Together, we, as parents, doctors, or just teens that want a safe and wonderful future, can and will succeed with a little hope and a whole lot of support. We will save the lives of millions of teens, we will save the skin of millions of teens, and we will save the future of millions of teenagers that are yet to come. We together can end this whole epidemic for the lives of the future as wonderful and healthy human beings.

The author's comments:
I feel very strongly about this topic because my mom had a minor case of melanoma and had to have it removed, leaving large scars on her back. I do not want teens to get into this habit and regret it for the rest of their lives when they are diagnosed with cancer or have to stare at forty to fifty year old looking skin when they are only twenty-five.

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