Place under direct heat, bake for twenty minutes

Place under direct heat, bake for twenty minutes

by Jessica McDonald

The cloudy, cold days of winter are here, and many students turn toward the tanning beds for some sun.

“Ever since it got chilly outside, I have seen an increase in business,” said junior Lyndsey Owens, an employee at Professional Body Works.

Many students feel the need to use tanning beds now that the sun is gone.

“I like to maintain my tan throughout the year,” said junior Steph Schloemer.

Schloemer said she likes to tan because it makes her feel happier and it is a good way to relax.

“I can go tan and get away and be by myself,” said Schloemer.

The effects of tanning are both positive and negative. The obvious effect of too much sun exposure is skin cancer. Every sunburn a person gets increases their risk of skin cancer.

“Changes in moles are the biggest sign of skin cancer,” said Simpson College Nurse Michelle Cross.

Moles that have a different color, are larger than the end of a pencil or have jagged edges need to be checked out immediately.

Another drawback of tanning is the long-term effects it has on the skin. Ultraviolet rays cause the skin to appear leathery and cause wrinkles to develop.

“Overall, tanning increasing the aging process,” said Cross.

The positive effects of tanning are that some UV rays can create Vitamin D.

Tanning also helps with seasonal affective disorder, which is caused by insufficient light. Schloemer confirms that tanning does put her in a better mood. Tanning can also help with skin problems such as acne.

Even though there are positive aspects of tanning, Cross issues caution when one tans.

“Like everything, moderation is the key,” said Cross.

Since each person is different, it is hard to determine the exact amount of sun exposure a person should have. People with blonde hair and blue eyes should spend less time in the sun, while people with brown eyes and dark brown hair can have more sun exposure.

Schloemer says she is aware of the risks of too much sun exposure. She said she doesn’t feel that she falls into the high risk category for skin damage.

“I don’t tan excessively,” said Schloemer. “I only tan anywhere from once a week to once every two weeks.”

The staff at Professional Body Works is also aware of the risks of tanning.

“We usually help first-time customers choose their best tanning options,” said Owens.

First-time tanners are only allowed to tan from 10-15 minutes.

“After their first tan, we adjust the time from there,” said Owens.

If concerned about skin cancer and want to get a screening, Mercy and Methodist Hospitals in Des Moines offer free skin cancer screenings.