It is quite funny how society’s idea of beauty has changed over the years. Many centuries ago being pale was the biggest trend. Fast-forward a few thousand years and you see tanning salons on every other street. Today’s media has created the idea that being tan makes you beautiful. Magazine covers, advertisements and TV shows, more often than not, display bronzed men and women, leading viewers to use tanning beds to get the look of their favorite celebrity.
Although the negative effects of tanning beds are often noted, it is not shocking to walk into a tanning salon to find multiple people waiting for an unoccupied bed. In fact, 35 percent of American adults, 59 percent of college students, and 17 percent of teens have reported using a tanning bed in their lifetime. The warnings of tanning beds should not be taken lightly. Indoor tanning causes up to 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year.
Skin cancer is one of the many negative effects one can develop when exposed to UV radiation in a tanning bed. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer; squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer that develops in the cells of the outer layer of the skin; and ocular melanoma, cancer of the eye, are types of cancer one can develop from using a tanning bed.
Skin cancer might seem like an extreme effect that many believe they won’t acquire, but there are more negative side effects to worry about. Exposure to UV radiation can lead to premature skin aging, along with wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and much more.
With so many negative effects from using tanning beds, it brings to question why we even tan in the first place. At the end of the day we are only given one body. We should care for and worship our bodies, not destroy them. Instead of frying your skin to achieve that sun-kissed glow, buy self-tanning lotion or get a spray tan instead.
Next time you feel tempted to get that instant “I just came from Cancun” look in the middle of January, remember that one week of you being tan isn’t worth the risk of a lifetime of damages. We are all beautiful the way we are, we don’t need to fry our bodies away in order to be.