graphic by Erin Sankey

Salons provide more than a golden glow

Tanning beds may offer that spring-glow students desire, but these bright lights bring an abundance of negative side effects. These impacts are endless, not to mention seriously detrimental to one’s health. While tanning beds may seem like a good solution for pale students looking for a pre-summer faux glow, the negatives outweigh the superficial benefits.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the UV radiation given off by tanning beds penetrate top and inner layers of the skin. Over time, this penetration can cause a list of health risks including: skin cancer, skin burns, premature skin aging and eye damage. Cancer comes in at number two on the list of top ten leading causes of death and this type of cancer is easily preventable. While an artificial tan may last about two weeks, are these long-term dangers truly worth a short time of darkened skin?

Students need to find alternatives to using tanning beds. A common myth is that natural tanning is the better option. However, whether one is tanning in a bed or in a backyard, both environments put one’s health at risk. One benefit natural tanning has over tanning beds is the supply of Vitamin D essential for our skin from natural sunlight. Not to mention, tanning time in the backyard is free of cost and much more convenient. The average price for a 20 minute session is about $7, which may not seem overly expensive, but is costly compared to a free backyard tanning session. If one decides to take the backyard option, plenty of sunscreen should be used to prevent skin from burns and sun spots.

The best alternative that doesn’t cause health issues and is also less costly is tanning lotion. Not only is lotion easy to find, the cost for one bottle is about $8 and can last for 16-20 sessions. Some lotions may appear unneven on skin, but with the right brand, this option is the safest and most reasonable.

The “Tanning Tax” imposed by President Obama is the right path to go in order to warn tanners of health risks. According to CNN, this 10 percent tax added for individuals receiving indoor tanning may seem unfair to tanners, but is an effort to inform them and prevent future health issues. Along with the added tax, age restrictions cause limitations for tanners. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, minors under 18 are required to have their parents’ signatures in order to use indoor tanning.

Before scheduling your next indoor tanning appointment, consider these harmful side effects. Instead of putting your body at risk of developing fatal diseases and increasing skin aging, try backyard tanning (with sunscreen of course) or lotion. The risks obviously outweigh the benefits when it comes to tanning beds. Why sacrifice your health for two weeks of orange bliss?