Tanned bodies face risk along with gain

Tanned bodies face risk along with gain

by Morgan Perkins

With Spring Break fast approaching, many students have probably already hit the tanning salons; but, before going again, here’s some helpful information about the effects tanning has on the body.

People who use tanning devices are 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to have common kinds of skin cancer than were people who did not use the devices, according to a study quoted in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

While this may scare some people away from ever tanning again, other people find periodic tanning to be beneficial.

Brandi Larson, owner of Professional Body Works, said that tanning can be used for psoriasis and depression.

“I think that there are more positive aspects than negative,” Larson said. But, she acknowledges that excessive tanning puts students at high risk for problems later on.

“Do everything in moderation,” Simpson nurse Michelle Cross said. “Moderate amounts [of tanning] help acne, and Vitamin D [from ultraviolet rays] helps your body absorb calcium to keep bones strong.”

The College Student’s Health Guide suggests psychological benefits in addition to physical ones. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of tanning is that sunlight may improve your mood. This is based on the contrary idea that not enough sunlight can make you go into a mild depression.

The same book reiterates that too much sun can be damaging. Even though one may think they look beautiful now, tanning may actually speed up the aging process and cause you more wrinkles in the end.

Still, many students choose to tan because they think the benefits outweigh the costs.

“I think students do it for image. You look better and feel better,” said senior Brianne Trease, a former employee of European Tan Spa.

Trease said that tanning becomes a habit for many once they initially start.

“Tanning is like smoking or eating badly. Later on in life it will hit them and they’ll have to deal with it,” Trease said.

Trease said that the majority of tanners do not fall into the high-risk category.

“It’s not that dangerous. Two to three times a week provides you with Vitamin D that you wouldn’t normally get,” Trease said.

Larson also said that tanning beds provide a more safe and predictable source of light than what is found outside.

“Tanning outdoors is more dangerous than tanning indoors because you can control the amount of UVA you get,” Larson said.

To tan safely there are three steps, according to the “College Student’s Health Guide.”

The first suggestion is knowing one’s skin type and capacity to handle sun exposure. Next, use of the proper tanning and sunscreen products. Finally, being careful not to burn.

If the golden tan is appealing, but the consequences are toom much, there are sunless options like self-tanners.

Another alternative uses tanning combined with a new mist-on-tan product.

“It’s a self bronzer, and whatever is on you when you are done tanning your skin will absorb,” Trease said. “You turn four to five times and then buff yourself off with a towel.”

There are some minor drawbacks to the mist-on tanning, according to Trease.

“The only problem is that it’s expensive, but it’s a lot better for you.”