Your Skin is Glowing for a Reason and It's Not Good

For many decades women with a tan have been a symbol of elegance and beauty. Some women stop at nothing to obtain that bronze glow. To ultimately help women achieve this goal Friedich Wolff in the early 1970’s invented the tanning bed, device which is used nearly one million times a day in the United States. Talon salons have been created into an industry that boasts billions in sales per year. Women in this millennium are naïve to believe tanning beds are safer than natural sunlight while ignoring proven facts addressing premature aging, and the development of skin cancer and other diseases due to tanning.

Due to false advertising and ignorance of tanning bed damage some still believe that tanning in a bed is a safer alternative to the sun. Before people were educated about tanning there was reason to believe that fifteen to twenty minutes in a tanning bed was equal to a few hours in the sun. In reality, tanning for a total of twenty minutes is equal to a full day in the sun. Tanning salons has been a booming market in today’s economy; it brings in five billion dollars in revenue. Without a doubt, these salons will do anything to appeal to the users. They promote a good source of Vitamin D which comes from the sun but, they neglect to address the other damaging effects of tanning. They also advertise how quick and easy it is to get in one of their beds for a short time and come out glowing. Many people go to tanning beds weekly because they are not capable of spending an entire day in the sun, some want to obtain their tan as fast as possible.

Tanning beds have two types of ultraviolet rays, just as the sun does, both being very harmful to an individual’s skin if exposed constantly. The two different types of ultraviolet rays are UVA and UVB rays. Ultraviolet A rays penetrate deeper into the skin sometimes causing allergic reactions and contributing to developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. UVA rays also give a more distinguishable glow which makes this type of tanning bed more preferable. The more exposure to UVA rays, the more likely you are to have a damaged immune system in your later years, which may make it harder for your body to fight off diseases. Skin cancer is found most commonly among people who are frequently exposed to these rays. Ultraviolet B rays penetrate the top layers of the skin causing sunburns; these burns don’t last as long and will turn into a tan quickly. UVB rays are said to only harm the outer most layer of the skin but have been proven to contribute to premature aging. UVA and UVB rays from tanning beds are approximately two to three times more powerful than the UV rays given off from natural sunlight. The results from this are that tanning bed users exposing their bodies to the UV rays produced by tanning beds and the natural sun are in greater danger of developing skin disease in their lifetime.

There is reason to believe that chronic exposure to ultraviolet rays increases the progression of aging on the inside and out. Men and women alike both strive for reaching the ultimate bronze glow not taking into consideration the damages they are causing their bodies. Tanning constantly leads to premature aging, and wrinkles. Every time a person goes to the tanning bed they are making their skin become less flexible. The skin eventually becomes saggy and leathery in texture.  Frequent tanning bed users who start this practice at a young age will see the results of tanning in their mid twenties. Also another type of damage from exposure could be cataracts which normally people do not get diagnosed with well into their fifties. Another type of eye damage that may occur is arc eye or corneal flash burns which are both developed by exposure to radiation without proper eye protection. There are many tanning bed users that are unaware of these effects and are continually going to their local tanning salon. People who tan frequently at an early age have heard of the effects but ignore them thinking they will happen much later in their life. In reality, chronic tanning speeds up the process.  These tanning bed users are only thinking about their looks at that instant in time and not considering the damages that are slowly accumulating into something they will regret.

Exposure to UV rays cause ninety percent of the skin cancers and diseases diagnosed today, melanoma being most common. Whether tanning in the sun, or tanning in tanning beds, any type of tan is damage to the skin. If a tanning bed user visits a tanning salon frequently they have a four to seven fold increase in developing skin cancer in their lifetime. Over one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer a year and this number will increase as tanning salons are becoming more and more available to consumers. Tanning bed users are two and a half times more likely to form basal-cell carcinoma and these people are one and a half times more likely to form squamos cell carcinoma. Both of these diseases are cancerous but treatable. Most people would rather decrease their risks of forming cancer but, in order to do so proper protection should be applied as well as decreasing your tanning time in the sun or in beds.

Having skin that glows in pictures or in person makes most people feel confident about the way they look. I will be the first to admit that being tan is in some ways a self esteem booster, you feel and look healthy. I visited my local tanning salon at least a few times a month just to keep color in my cheeks. After reading many articles about tanning and mostly negative outcomes I plan on cutting down on my tanning visits. Using tanning alternatives such as lotions, sprays or mystic tans could save many people time, money, and their health. Each individual is given their skin tone for a reason and altering their healthy, natural color in the long run is not worth the one day tan.

Being tan only lasts for a minimal amount of time, constant exposure to ultra violet rays is more damaging to your body than it may seem. Is “fitting in” really worth the long term consequences? Women should use other alternatives such as spray on tans to achieve the glow they want. People need to become more aware of the reality of tanning and ask themselves if it is really worth looking older and increasing their risk of developing skin cancer in the future.