Feeling The Burn

By on April 12, 2006

Indoor tanning has become a popular trend on college campuses, especially after the sun tease spring break provided. Now with summer just a few month’s away, many students are eager to keep that tan they achieved a few weeks ago, or to obtain that sun kissed look we residents of the northeast can only get from the natural sun about three months of the year.

“I don’t start going until the winter and spring when the weather isn’t as nice outside. You can tell that a lot of other people start going then, too. People usually look healthier when they are tan. When I see other people tan, I want to go even more,” said Judy Gregorie, junior business management major.

According to Consumer Reports, about 30 Million Americans, including several teenage girls, were expected to visit a tanning salon this past year.

Many justify their frequent visits to the tanning salon by telling themselves they are doing their body good when they get a tan. Due to the Vitamin D production caused by the sun, humans only need a small amount relative to what is produced when they get a suntan.

“Just a small amount of sunlight is needed for the body to manufacture vitamin D. It doesn’t take much sunlight to make all the vitamin D you can use certainly far less than it takes to get a suntan,” according to the Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

People who participate in indoor tanning more often experience burning from UVA exposure than those who only tan outdoors.

“Every once in a while I get burned. I burn the most though the first time I go after not going for awhile,” Gregorie said.

A large reason why indoor tanners experience burns is because the facilities do not promote the development of a gradual tan by only allowing their customers to go in for a small amount of time their first few sessions. According to a study done by Consumer Reports, “about half of the states in the U.S. have no tanning-parlor regulations, and the existing rules are sometimes minimal and frequently flouted by parlor employees.”

(www. consumerreports.org)

This trend is not so healthy. Ultimately, a sun burn is the body telling a person they have just damaged their skin cells by ultraviolet light. The red color is from the stimulation of melanin production and the skins attempt to protect it from further damage.

Every time the skin burns, elasticity is lost and the development of various skin cancer conditions is increased. The common American goal to obtain the glow and ignore the burn results in today’s statistics, which show one out of every five Americans will develop skin cancer. The burns are not enough to put an end to it.

“After I burn, I always tell myself I am not going to go again, but as soon as the pain of the burn goes away and I am not so red, I go back,” said Nicole Aurigemma, junior business management major. “My cut off will be college. I have told myself that once I am done with college I will be done with tanning.”

Although students feel that once they are not surrounded by this contagious trend that frequently lingers during the hot sun deprived months on college campuses their visits to the tanning salons will end. They do not realize this may cause them harm later.

The Skin Cancer Foundation states “more than 23 minutes per year in a tanning bed does irreparable harm, with radiation five times the intensity of the noontime sun at the equator.”

If hearing about all of the harms indoor tanning can cause you has caused you to change your thoughts about indoor tanning, but you still find yourself yearning for a glow, you don’t have to cancel your monthly membership at Tommy K’s. Tommy K’s, along with several other tanning salons in the area, now offer Mystic Tan, a spray on tan that can take as little as one minute. Mystic tan is a spray-on-like tan similar to that which can be bought in the supermarkets. However, the results are a more even tan with more of a bronze rather than orange tint and it lasts longer.

Whether it’s no tan, or Mystic Tan, ultimately either is better for your health than a tan created by indoor UV rays, both now and in the long term.


About Erin Elfeldt