Home > Uncategorized > To Tan or Not to Tan

To Tan or Not to Tan

As I was doing my usual pre-homework procrastination, I came across an interesting article about the increase of melanoma in women, despite the increase in awareness of the risks. I found this especially interesting because my first essay for this class was about UV exposure and my own experiences with tanning. I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the issue, but this article gave me tons of inspiration for essay revisions.

I will be the first to say that I enjoy being tan. Coming from a city where it is primarily cloudy during the year, the summer provides a few months that I am actually able to soak up some vitamin D (aside from the rays I get from tanning beds occasionally). I know what the risks of overexposure to the Sun is, and I’ve watched the aging effects it can have, but it’s hard to stop when laying out has become part of my daily summer routine over the past 19 years. I used to think that applying sunscreen was all I needed to do, but this article made it very clear that sunscreen, while helpful, will not be what prevents you from getting melonoma or other such diseases. The majority of the population, myself included, don’t even know how to properly apply sunscreen, in terms of quantity or frequency. And I know I certainly don’t apply it everytime I’m outdoors, even though you should.

The article makes several jokes about girls today wanting to look like Snooki, but in reality, if the majority of people I knew didn’t enjoy being tan I probably wouldn’t value it so much either. No one wants to be the “pasty” friend in prom pictures, so why not stop by the tanning salon if everyone else is? It’s easy to disgard the statistics if they haven’t become immediately relevant to you.

What are you all’s views on tanning? Has society made it more acceptable depsite the obvious risks?

Here’s the article if you’re interested:


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 21, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Being a girl who has tanned for occasions such as prom and spring break, I fully agree with your thought process of society making tanning a much more acceptable practice, even if it is a dangerous one. A large part of tanning’s risks are ignored by the adolescent population who pretty much believe that while they’re young, they’re invincible.

    Although tanning has said to have lead to serious skin disease and even cancer, many people have tanned themselves and have not gotten sick. This chance one takes is clearly one’s own decision for what they believe is more important to them at the moment.

    Even if tanning is technically “allowed” by the masses, some precautions should be taken. For one, the amount of time you spend in a tanning bed should not rise beyond 15 minutes. Your visits should not be as frequent as more than twice in a span of 24 hours as well. UV lights are used in many laboratories and hospitals. In each of these, the scientists and doctors are covered fully so the light does not penetrate their bodies. Clearly if they are taking precautions against the lights we shouldn’t be so forthcoming to their enlightenment.

    Tanning is and will be a subject of discussion for many years to come until serious correlations are proven to be correct. In the meantime, there is always spray tanning! If you’re not too frightened to end up like Snooki of course..

  2. February 22, 2012 at 12:29 am

    My grandfather developed skin cancer from overexposure to the sun. Luckily, he is a doctor and very aware of his health, and was able to get it removed. Currently, there is a small (but noticeable) chunk missing from his back. So, what would you rather: looking pale compared to your best friend in your prom pictures, or missing a chunk of your back for the rest of your life?

    Skin cancer is a very real thing, so why do we so often choose to ignore it? Though not nearly as troublesome as cigarettes, it’s sort of the same thing. Choose to do it now, benefit in the short term, but loose in the long term.

    These decisions are risky, and they are often made by people our age because we don’t think well enough about the repercussions. The best way to handle these decisions, in my opinion, is to do everything in moderation. Yes, it’s fine to go to a tanning bed once or twice because you’re insecure about your pale legs. Yes, it’s fine to smoke a cigarette every so often. It’s not likely you’re going to get skin cancer or emphysema. But tanning at the rate snooki does is simply throwing away your good health, and I simply do not agree.

    When I want to tan, I throw on SPF 8 and lay outside. This way I’m blocking myself from harmful UV rays, and also getting color. It certainly does not produce such instant results as a bed, but at least I have the reassurance than when I’m getting old and wrinkly, I won’t have sun spots covering my arms, and skin cancer to worry about.

    • February 22, 2012 at 4:30 am

      I think most everyone would agree that skin like Snooki’s is clearly not healthy.. But like it says in the article sunscreen doesn’t prevent damage completely either. Current sunscreen only blocks UVB rays (which cause sunburn) it doesn’t block UVA rays; so people can be deceived into thinking because they aren’t burning their skin is protected which isn’t always true. Just something to think about!

  3. February 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    This discussion about whether tanning is more of an accepted practice than it used to be reminds me about the similar argument for plastic surgery. Like plastic surgery, the decision to tan is up to the individual, and consequences are the responsibility of that person as well. I think it is this person’s job to research the possible impacts on their body, and if they have an understanding and still are willing to continue, then there is nothing that can be done. I agree about doing things in moderation. Obviously, it is extreme to say that tanning will sharply decrease if people have knowledge of the dangers that come about from tanning because society does not make it seem like a huge problem. So I think the compromise would be to not do this so frequently that you are making your future completely miserable, but every once in a while will keep you and your body much happier.

    • February 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      I definitely agree with what you have to say pertaining towards the responsibility of a person to research their choices. In regards to tanning, I’m not sure I understand your reference to plastic surgery, especially because the sun gives your body an essential nutrient: vitamin D. WIthout vitamin D, our body cannot use the calcium that we need to keep our bones strong. However, I don’t really think plastic surgery can easily be comparable to vitamin D. Furthermore, I’d have to disagree that the choice to tan is like plastic surgery, because tanning (in the sun) is at least natural, where plastic surgery certainly is not.

      • February 28, 2012 at 7:43 pm

        I’m sorry, I am not very good at explaining myself. My point about plastic surgery compared to tanning was that for either situation (if someone chooses to do it to the point that it can be harmful to their body) it has somewhat been considered more ‘acceptable’ in society and also it is that individual’s choice to risk their health. I don’t know if that clarified anything, but I do see your points.

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