Dangers of tanning beds ignored

By Claire DeFrancisci

Being tan makes people look good. It will make the colors in their clothes pop, brings out their hair and eye color, and it is even said that to make people look thinner. But is it worth it?

Going to a tanning bed, even once in a while, increases one’s chances of developing melanoma by 75 percent. Melanoma is one of the deadliest skin cancers and can have a low survival rate. I am sure most tanning bed-goers have heard this many times, yet many continue to go and can develop a habit of it. What they usually fail to do is actually research what they are doing to their bodies.

It is hard to ignore when I see people on Facebook or Twitter that post things like “Addicted to tanning :),” in the middle of winter. If it is January, it is not natural to come to school looking like you just got back from a month long trip to the Bahamas. Most people are significantly paler in the winter; it is not necessary to bake yourself in a tube in order to look tanner than everybody else.

While tanning beds give you a “healthy” glow, they also mutate the DNA and lower the power of the immune system, making someone extremely prone to cancer. Unfortunately, tanning beds are usually associated with melanoma, the deadliest of all skin cancers.

People do not worry about getting melanoma because they think that they are not in danger of it until they get older are wrong.  However, melanoma usually strikes between the ages of 15-29.  If the cancer is not diagnosed immediately, people have less than 10 percent chance of survival.

Tanning is not something to overlook, and most definitely not something you want to form into a habit. If being tan is seriously important to someone, artificial tanning is a healthier option. Spray tanning is often looked down upon because people usually come out of it looking more orange than tan, but choosing it over tanning beds can be a more important decision than you think.

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