Is it summer yet? It’s that time of year again, and you are tired of being that pasty winter white and ready to have that summer glow. People in Orange County typically have the stereotype of being tan all year. People are not waiting for the sun to come out and head to the beach. “Fake and bake,” as it is called, is in full effect.
Before you go sign up for a tanning membership, here are some important things you should know about:
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 28 million Americans tan indoors. Women between the age of 16-30 are the typical users of tanning beds.
Why do people tan? People may give lots of reasons why they tan, but it really all boils down to self esteem. Tan skin makes you feel better about yourself; it makes you feel thinner and more fit without having to workout. The deeper issue is that we are not comfortable in our natural skin. Bronzed glowing skin resembles healthy skins for most Americans but, quite frankly, it resembles the opposite.
According to Harvard health publications, “Laboratory research has helped us understand how tanning affects skin cells. Both UVB and UVA rays damage the cells’ DNA, potentially causing mutations that may lead to cancer. This same DNA damage is the cause of tanning. In other words, tanning itself is a sign of DNA damage in the skin.”
White, pale skin is healthy, natural and undamaged. Society sees it as sickly and unattractive. Models and stars are tan year around and society sees it as the normal thing to do, tan skin is highly coveted. No wonder people envy a little color in their complexion.
“It doesn’t matter whether you get it from the sun or from artificial sources such as sun lamps and tanning beds — ultraviolet (UV) radiation is linked to skin cancers (including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma) and to other sorts of skin damage, particularly premature skin aging (photoaging)” said Harvard health publications.
Studies done by the Skin Cancer Foundation has seen a rise in melanoma among ages 18-39. Over the past 40 years, this deadly skin cancer has grown by 800 percent in women and 400 percent in men. The reason for the rise in cancer is that people are now tanning year round, whereas before they would only tan during the summer months. With indoor tanning becoming increasingly popular during winter months, golden brown skin is accessible anywhere.
The tanning industry makes misleading claim for the “healthiness” of tanning. Claims from “it helps build a base tan that protects against sunburn,” or that “tanning is a good way to get vitamin D,” which is essential to bone health and has been linked to the reducing of certain cancers. The base tan claim does help but is the equivalent to putting on SPF 4. Vitamin D can be received from any vitamin D supplement without risking your skin.
Vanguard senior Lizanne Shera has worked at a tanning salon for the last two years. She stressed the importance of asking your tanning salon what the “wattage and max time” is as well as the “UVB percentage” for each bed so you understand how high of a risk you are taking when tanning in certain beds.
“If a client has a certain question involving a health issue, we always prefer they consult their physician before tanning,” Shera said.
Whether you tan at the beach or in a bed, tanning is harmful to the skin. Let’s face it; our skin is something we will carry around with us until the day we die, so it is important to take care of it.