Tanorexia: a warming trend

by Ashley Fees

While the days of relaxing and soaking up the sun are comingrapidly to a close, tanning beds are preparing to get heated.

“No one anywhere is busy now,” said Carolyn Sampson, owner ofThe Tannery. “Give it a few weeks and every place will beswamped.”

Sampson has been running her own business and living inIndianola for the past 19 years. She said Simpson students are amajor reason she is still open and successful.

“It’s mostly younger girls that tan here,” Sampson said. “Thoughmy clientele does range from 15 to 80.”

However, tanning poses a danger to all ages.

“Most tanners know that it’s UV rays that cause the cancer,”said Elaine Smith, nurse practitioner at the Dermatology andDermatologic Surgery Center PC in Clive. “But what most think isthat only UVB rays cause cancer, and in reality UVA rays dotoo.”

The bulbs in the tanning beds contain UVA rays.

“Every time a person tans, it injures the skin,” Smith said.”The rays damage the collagen, which keeps the body from saggingand holds form.”

Tanning can cause bumps, hives, and blotchy areas of the skin,known as allergies.

“Tanning can trigger allergies, suppressing the immune system,”said Smith. “Many tanners have problems with cold sores, infectionsand warts.”

Eyesight can also be damaged from tanning.

“I always wear the goggles,” said Jenna Sandersfeld, a juniorwho has been tanning since her freshman year of high school. “It’snot worth losing my eyesight.”

Frequent checks from a dermatologist are recomennded for anyonewho tans.

“Most sun exposure damage occurs before you turn 20,” saidSmith. “Make sure you get checked, it will do nothing but help inthe future.”

Despite the risks, the trend does not seem to be slowingdown.

“We don’t have an ignorant population,” Smith said. “We are alleducated and we all know what damages tanning can cause.Ultimately, it is the person’s decision to tan.”