By: Carmen Corea
Think that being tan makes you healthy? Well, it’s exactly the opposite and the issue of tanning has raised a lot of eyebrows due to the results of extensive research.
Nowadays, tanning salons claim that their services are safer than baking in the sun. They say that their tanning beds or booths’ lights are definitely safer than natural sunlight. But what you didn’t know was that those supposedly harmless UV radiation bulbs are just as dangerous as outdoor sun exposure and they contribute to the worst and most serious type of skin cancer – malignant melanoma, which is most common among adolescents. Ouch!
“To be honest, I was very naive when it came to considering tanning indoors. I mean I always wanted that nice golden looking skin that glows, but after reading many articles on safe tanning I was surprised to see how dreadful it can actually be once you’re older and your skin starts to deteriorate,” said Vanessa Izqueirdo, 17, senior at G. Holmes Braddock.
According to a national survey, practically a third of white teenage girls have used indoor tanning booths at least three times. Dermatologist Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs says they are treating more fatal skin lesions in younger patients. As the numbers of teens using indoor tanning booths rises, the risk of skin cancer will escalate as well.
“Teenagers may think they look good now, but the sad part is that by the time they reach 60, their skin will look like a leather bag and they’ll be paying a dermatologist to try to reverse the damage,” said Dr. Ted Daly, director of pediatric dermatology at Nassau University Medical Center in New York.
The holidays are here and pasty white skin isn’t exactly the look you’re going for. So what are your options? Tanning lotions are better than before – no more orangey fake looking tans. They’re safer because they apply a temporary color that fades because your skin gets rid of dead cells, just like what happens when a natural tan fades.
Little known facts about the dangers of tanning booths*:
-A tan is a skin’s response to an injury
-Every time you tan, you damage your skin and accelerate the aging process
-Before the age of 18, skin cells are especially vulnerable to damage from UV radiation
-Tanning beds/booths expose the person to both UVA/UVB radiation, the same radiation found in outdoor sun
*Info from the American Academy of Dermatology