Tanning: Is Beauty Worth the Danger?

Sofia Marinac , staff writer

The clouds are fading away and the sun is coming out. Before you decide to whip out that tanning lotion and take a nap on the nearest beach, be sure to keep in mind the dangers of tanning. 

 

Sun Tanning:

  • There is no such thing as a safe tan! Increase of pigment is a sign of skin damage.
  • Melanin is a substance that is responsible for giving pigment to skin and helping to protect the body from UV radiation. The darker your skin is the more melanin is produced. Be cautious if you are a person with a light complexion because the less melanin you have, the less UV protection you have as well.
  • The body produces excess melanin in an attempt to shield skin cells from damage. So, a tan is actually the first sign of skin damage.
  • Sunburns take place when epidermis cells are damaged by UV radiation. The body responds by increasing blood flow in order to heal the damaged area
  • Melanoma, a cancer based on melanin-forming cells, is the most common cancer in America.

Things to keep in mind:

  •  Lotion up liberally!
  •  Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self. Be on the lookout for mysteriously formed or new moles.
  •  Even if you’re trying to get that summer glow, be sure to use sunscreen of at least SPF 15. SPF measures the protection against UV radiation you would get with unprotected skin compared how much it takes when sunscreen is applied.

Tanning Beds:

  • Emits 15 percent more UV than the sun
  • After one use of a tanning bed, your risk of getting melanoma increases by 75 percent
  • Increases risk of wrinkles. eye damage, and a change in skin texture
  • Leads to premature aging

 

Spray Tanning:

  • Doesn’t carry the same risks that tanning beds and sun tanning have because it does not use any UV radiation
  • Spray tans are safe for external use
  • Residue from the spray tan, if inhaled, collects inside your lungs. Inhalation linked to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, one of the most common lung diseases.
  • Contains DHA which has the ability to produce a genetic alteration for those predisposed to to cancer.

Things to keep in mind:

  •  Hold your breath or pinch your nose with nose clips while you’re getting spray tanned.
  • Keep your eyes covered.
  • Keep your lips sealed and wipe them with a cloth when you are finished.

Advice from the pro:

Kathleen Welsh, Dermatologist

“Skin cancer rates for young people are very high. Tanning is at least as damaging to your skin as smoking is to your lungs. (Tanning beds have been linked to more cases of skin cancer than cigarettes have been linked to cases of lung cancer). The FDA has been updating the regulations of tanning beds, and now require warning labels. Over the last 40 years, the rate of skin cancer in 18-39 year olds has grown by as much as 800%.