By Bryce Romig
Ever since Coco Chanel accidentally became tan on a yacht in the Mediterranean, people around the world have adopted it as one of the many signs of beauty and health.
Everywhere you go across the United States, you are almost guaranteed to find a tanning salon. The tanning salon industry has been booming since the nineties, and the industry continues to grow each year. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the tanning industry brings in a surprising revenue of over 2.6 billion dollars. With tanning popularity on the rise, many dermatologists are trying to get to the root of the problem; teenagers.
“I feel more comfortable tan. It gives me a confidence boost,” said freshman Alexus Potts.
Coco Chanel made the tan a popular trademark of beauty and health. The irony of that statement is evident, tanning destroys health. When skin is exposed to UVA and UVB rays, the light penetrates the skin and stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin. Your skin absorbs these rays to protect them from penetrating deeper and doing further damage. Melanin is a dark brown color, and it acts as a wall so more UVA and UVB rays cannot pass through. This is what develops the dark color.
“Tanning is really relaxing and a good stress reliever. I can’t stand being pale.” said senior Margo Becht.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, tanning raises your chances of getting skin cancer by 75 percent. When you expose your skin repeatedly to ultraviolet light without protection, your body develops moles due to the excess melanin. These moles, can be cancerous.
“I do plan on stopping soon. I don’t want my chances of getting cancer to go up. I don’t want to age prematurely either,” said sophomore Kortney Graham.
Tanning can also have numerous effects on your appearance as well. While your tan may look fantastic now, down the long road you could develop wrinkles and sun spots faster than the average human. According to the FDA Promote Health website, the UV rays break down the collagen in your skin. Collagen is responsible for keeping your skin from sagging. When collagen is depleted, wrinkles form.
“According to doctors, it’s really harmful to your skin. Tanning too much can cause your skin to look and feel leathery,” said FC nurse aide Earlene King.
Dermatologists strongly recommend buying a sunscreen with an SPF of fifteen or higher. It should be used year round according to dermatologists at the American Melanoma Foundation.
“I think people go overboard with tanning. I think not enough people are informed with the risks they are taking to achieve what society perceives as beautiful,” said sophomore Kaydi Marler.
If you want to achieve a nice glow without the harmful effects, try getting a spray tan or using a self tanning lotion. While most people believe they will have pumpkin orange palms, self tanning has come a long way since then and updated and improved their formulas.
“If you are confident in you as a person, your skin color shouldn’t affect your confidence. If you want to be tan, be tan. Just don’t forget to remember the harmful effects that come along with the tan. If you are truly confident with yourself as a person, you will realize skin doesn’t matter,” said Marler.