I get it. Summer is approaching, and the temptation to sport a golden brown skin tone is strong. Having a tan is a wonderful thing, and don’t get me wrong, I myself tan tremendously in the summer from working outside in the sun throughout the day, and yes, I do wear sunscreen. However, tanning beds are an incredibly dangerous thing, and it is essential to spread some awareness in regards to the long-term effects that the UV radiation produced by salon tanning beds can have upon your skin and your body.
According to SkinCancer.org., individuals who use tanning beds prior to the age of 35 increase their chances of developing Melanoma by 75%. The website also discusses how the UV radiation produced by tanning beds has been directly linked to the development of skin aging, for example sun spots, wrinkles and loose skin in persons who use them (http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/tanning).
The website references a study performed in 2011, with its results unveiling the alarming truth that two of the top three reasons as to why individuals tan in tanning beds is to feel good about their appearance, and to relax.
What disturbs me the most is how the majority of persons using tanning beds are teenage girls who are unaware of the major implications that tanning beds can lead to. I definitely think that this is an issue that needs more attention in the media in order to educate individuals about the harmful, long-term effects of skin damage and exposure.
What about spray tans? I myself was under the impression that they were relatively safe, but according to an article on TotalBeauty.com, spray tanning is dangerous as well. The article references Darrell Rigel, a professor of Dermatology at New York University, and he explains that recent studies have shown evidence that the active ingredient in spray tans, called DHA, may potentially damage a person’s DNA and could lead to the development of cancer (http://www.totalbeauty.com/content/gallery/spray-tan-danger).
So, what is the safest way to tan? Bottom line, there is no safe way. Always protect your skin from the sun, and check yourself frequently for any suspicious looking moles or birth marks. A tan is nice, but I think it is safe to say that its cons outweigh its pros.