BY JANELLE JANKOWSKI
Summer is right around the corner, and what easier way would there be to get that sun-kissed- Floridian look than to hit up a tanning bed? I was always under the impression that tanning was considered bad because it causes, among other health issues, unwanted and premature wrinkles. When I walked into the Tan Company to interview the front desk worker (who happened to be very tan herself), I already had a list of planned questions to ask her. I informed her of my article, and told her I intended on writing a piece about unhealthy tanning can be. She then told me tanning can actually be good for you, a dynamic I had not previously considered!
She explained to me that tanning can increase your self-esteem. It can also lead to the production of Vitamin D, which occurs when we are exposed to natural or artificial sunlight.
This vitamin is valuable in helping to keep our bones, teeth and joints strong. It can also help to lighten your mood. Research has shown that UV exposure can reduce problems with eczema1, psoriasis2 and other skin issues people may have. When medically supervised, limited use of a tanning bed can contribute to skin issues going into remission.
Increased risk of cancer is the main problem that can occur from tanning. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, in the U.S. alone, 419,254 cases of skin cancer can be attributed to indoor tanning. Out of this number, 6,199 are melanoma cases. It can also cause eye cancers and cataracts. On top of these health issues, it is damaging to the skin which then causes premature wrinkles. This then gives you that weather-beaten look after an excessive time of tanning – this occurs because of the loss of elasticity in the skin.
Kelsey Nothinstine, a coworker of mine, said she feels she is addicted to tanning and loves the tan she acquires. She also said she feels more attractive when she is tan. As mentioned above, tanning can increase your self-esteem. “For a while, I didn’t tan because my mom had asked me not to after a friend’s mom was diagnosed with skin cancer, and I felt kind of miserable with my pale skin.”
Of course not everyone feels the pressure to be tan. McKendree sophomore, Gretchen Buehrle, said she “doesn’t feel the need to be tan. None of my friends tan.”
It turns out people in America are not the only ones who like to tan their hides.
When I asked fellow McKendree exchange student, Reece Fallon, if people tanned in his home country of England, he said “Yeah, people use them [tanning beds] quite a bit back home to be honest, mainly girls. I think it is a big thing, appearance, back home now regarding what you look like.” He also said he enjoys being tan himself and has no problem using the tanning beds.
There is always going to be a downfall to no matter what we do. If used in proper moderation, the tanning bed is not so bad for you.
- Eczema: “a medical condition in which patches of skin become rough and inflamed, with blisters that cause itching and bleeding, sometimes resulting from a reaction to irritation (eczematous dermatitis) but more typically having no obvious external cause” (Google Dictionary).
- Psoriasis: “a skin disease marked by red, itchy, scaly patches” (Google Dictionary).