As the weather is getting warmer, the winter coats are coming off and the shorts are coming out. Wearing lighter clothing inevitably means showing more skin, which sometimes causes issues for people with fair complexions. During the winter, people in the northeast naturally become paler, strictly due to the lack of exposure to the sun. For some people, this is a non-issue, but for others, being tan is a way they find self-worth.
Artificial tanning is a common trend among high school and college age females. Though it is not unheard of for males to go tanning, it is a predominantly female concern. Even with discount cards, girls can end up spending hundreds of dollars on fake tans each month.
For many women, tanning is a way to boost their confidence. Often times, tanner skin makes the person look slimmer, and gives the appearance of whiter eyes and teeth. This vanity, however, comes at a very dangerous price.
According to SkinCancer.org, any form of tanning is extremely harmful to your skin. If you have a tan, you have sustained skin cell damage. The cumulative damage caused by the ultraviolet (UV) radiation that tans your skin can lead to premature skin aging as well as skin cancer.
Sophomore Alanna Clark makes a point that is humorous, but congruent with the thoughts of other girls. “Though I sometimes wish my skin was darker during the wintry, pasty season, I realize that when I’m old and ugly, I’m going to need tighter skin! That’s why I don’t tan now, while I’m still young and have good skin!”
Often times, tanning salons do not quit selling after you purchase the tanning time. They attempt to get customers to purchase additional lotions and creams that are meant to extend the life of your tan. Freshman Erica Gramm comments on her experiences. “I think [those creams] are bogus and just a moneymaking scheme. They might work, but for the short amount of time that I went, they didn’t work for me.”
A safer alternative to tanning in beds is the spray tan. This process involves a person standing in a booth, where they are sprayed on either side of their body with skin dye. This style of tanning does not involve any UV radiation but can stain clothing, have unwanted odors, and look unnatural. “Spray tans are a waste of money because they don’t last long and they aren’t natural,” says Gramm. “To get a ‘natural-looking tan’ isn’t safe; it’s better to just go outside to get tan, but wear sunscreen!”
Senior Nicole Sokira is not in favor of tanning, believing it looks too artificial on skin. “I don’t understand why everyone wants to be tan, and I don’t understand why girls think it’s appropriate to go into heated coffins and burn their skin,” says Sokira. “Girls keep wanting to get darker and darker skin tones, and it gets to a point where it doesn’t look natural at all.”
Though tanning is often seen as an issue that women deal with, men are aware of it as well. “Personally, I feel as though it is dumb to artificially tan your skin when you could use the natural effects of the sun,” says Sophomore Ricky Asplen. “People are impatient, and don’t feel like sitting outside for hours to get a natural tan. They are looking for instant gratification, because they aren’t willing to put the time and dedication into tanning their skin the natural way.”
Tanning is a popular pastime of both male and female young adults, though it can have lasting negative effects on the skin. Anytime you are in the sun, be sure to protect your skin with SPF. Next time, think before you tan!