Tanning beds increase in popularity and risks

Laiken Yerby, Co-Editor

Females are flocking into a danger known as tanning beds.

With spring break and prom in the past and summer around the corner, tanning beds are hot commodities at this time of year, and harmful damage to the skin shoots worry through my veins.

Many people know that tanning beds aren’t good for skin; however, they don’t know how bad it is.

When one uses a tanning bed regularly, the risk of melanoma, a skin cancer, is about 75 percent higher than for those who have never used one.

The Skin Cancer Foundation found that for those who find themselves in a tanning bed just once, the user’s chances of developing melanoma is increased by 20 percent.

Then after every additional tanning session, the risk increases about two percent.

Tanning facilities know these risks, so users are asked to sign a waiver that has all the risks listed.

It blows my mind that people are willing to put their health at risk just to have some color to their skin.

While any unprotected sun exposure, even heredity, can contribute to melanoma, the ultraviolet rays that people are voluntarily exposing themselves to in tanning beds increases risks substantially.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a study found that over the span of 40 years, fatal skin cancers have grown by a massive 800 percent for women ages 18 to 39; however, the number increases in men, too, at a substantial 400 percent.

Melanoma is the most common skin cancer, but it is not the only cancer that risks increase by indoor tanning.

While usually not life threatening, squamous cell and basal cell cancer risks have grown; to get rid of these cancers, a person would have to go under the knife and that leaves one with lifelong scars.

Not only does indoor tanning increase the risk of cancer, but also serious aging of the skin, immune suppression and even eye damage.

Little do tanning bed abusers know is that leathery, wrinkly skin is just around the corner.

Tan skin is thought of as a sign of health, and people tend to find it more attractive.

The tan trend didn’t start just yesterday; in the 1920s, fashion magazines, such as Vogue, had numerous articles on tanned skin and how “the 1929 girl must be tanned.”

The allure to tan skin hasn’t changed since.

The once beautiful and coveted fair skin is now a thing of the distant past.

All I ask is for fewer people to be drawn to tanning beds. Don’t join the tanning bandwagon.

This possibly deadly addiction has alternatives; sunless tanners can be a gal’s best friend.

People should be happy with who they are and this includes being okay with having little or no tan.

It isn’t worth the risk.