Like the title says, this is Part 2 so if you haven’t read that yet, you want to go back and do so. Having said that, I did a lot of research on this topic. I want everyone to know how dangerous too much tanning can be.
People have been told for fifty some years that smoking cigarettes causes cancer; it states this on every box, and it is taught in schools. There is an age restriction on cigarettes with good reason. New research from AMA Dermatology has released a study, International Prevalence of Indoor Tanning – A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. “The number of skin cancer cases due to tanning is higher than the number of lung cancer cases due to smoking. What is the reason that tanning is not in the same category as cigarettes? In the US alone, 419,254 cases of skin cancer can be attributed to indoor tanning.”(Skin Cancer Foundation).
Furthermore, other than cancer people do not smoke cigarettes because the toll it takes on one’s appearance. Smoking causes the skin to age faster and so does tanning. On the WebMD website Kathleen Doheny writes, “Whether the exposure is indoors or outdoors, ultraviolet exposure over time causes what doctors call ‘photo aging,’ or wrinkles and a leathery look. German researchers evaluated 59 people who voluntarily started to use sun beds over a three-month period. Use of the sun bed induced a DNA mutation in the skin known to be linked with photo aging.” There is also yet another study that proved ultraviolet radiation exposure from the sun speeds up DNA mutations in human skin associated with premature aging. Some even call the tanning bed an “aging machine.”
If one looks into history, tanned skin is a fairly recent fad, and it is most popular among Caucasian women in Europe, the United States, and Brazil. Looking at China, Japan, India, and other nations the people want a fairer complexion. Some even use skin lighteners. Historically, fair skin indicated a higher status because tanned skin meant a person worked outside and pale skin meant one could afford to stay inside out of the sun. From ancient Egypt to the Middle Ages to the 18th and 19th century’s people, women, especially, sought-after pale skin and saw it as beautiful. It was not until the 1920’s when fashion icon Coco Chanel made tanned skin popular because it meant a person had money to travel; it also signified relaxation, fun, the outdoors, physical fitness, and health. (Skin Cancer Foundation)
So with all this information why do women keep tanning? Many women say that they tan to get their vitamin D. “Indoor tanning is not a safe way to get vitamin D,” The Center for Disease Control says, “Although it is important to get enough vitamin D, the safest way to do so is through what you eat. Tanning harms your skin, and the amount of UV exposure you need to get enough vitamin D is hard to measure because it is different for every person and also varies with the weather, latitude, altitude, and more.”
True or false: a person needs sunlight to get Vitamin D? False. Although one does get Vitamin D through the sunlight, Vitamin D can also be bought in capsule forms to be ingested with no risk of getting cancer. Kathleen Doheny also writes, “Limited exposure to natural sun – exposing skin to about 2 to 10 minutes a day without sunscreen – is recommended by some experts as a way to produce enough vitamin D, but Fisher and others don’t agree that’s best. ‘There is no need to get your vitamin D from UV radiation,’ Fisher says. ‘You can get it from a pill.’ Many foods are also fortified with vitamin D such as milk.”
I think it’s actually good to get sunshine on your exposed skin but it only takes 10 minutes to get the vitamin D you need. Sunscreen should be used after that. Even with all this evidence of skin cancer and wrinkles at the least, there are still benefits of being in the real sun and not artificial rays of the tanning beds. The question may be asked, how much sun is okay and what are the benefits? Teens should know how sunlight works on their bodies, so they will prefer natural sun to artificial from the tanning beds. “While severe sunburn is known to be a trigger for melanoma regular, moderate sun exposure under the right conditions is now thought to actually help prevent this often fatal malignancy,” says writer Carol Caplin.
Research shows, sunshine, real sunshine, may also help prevent diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. The reason why people tend to be in better moods in the sunshine is due to the stimulation the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that produces serotonin. This regulates sleep patterns, mood swings and hormonal cycles. (Caplin, 2003) In short if people know about the benefits of natural sun light they will avoid the dangerous artificial.
You should know how much exposure is okay and Sara Hiom head of health information at Cancer Research UK says, “For the average fair-skinned person, we would recommend around 15 minutes, two to three times a week, with your arms, face and maybe legs uncovered.” She also explains that everyone is different but sunscreen should be worn to protect oneself from burning if he or she is out in the sun longer than fifteen minutes. Dr Mark Palmer, a specialist in cosmetic dermatology, says that even when wearing SPF 30, people often burn, because they have applied the lotion too thinly. “The effectiveness of sunscreens increases exponentially the more you apply, so if you use factor 30, but put on a quarter of the amount you need, you will actually only be getting a sun protection factor of two or four.” When applying sunscreen make sure enough is being used and being reapplied every two hours and after getting into water. Everyone should learn to protect their skin even from natural light, as the sun can still cause skin cancer.
Although some doctors recommend some short amounts of time in the sun with bare skin, all of them agree that tanning beds are dangerous. A legal adult has the right to make his or her own choices but they should be made aware of the risks. These tanning beds are proven to cause a deadly form of cancer and at an alarming rate. If tanning beds cause higher rates of skin cancer than cigarettes cause lung cancer, they should be banned to minors, there is no question. Tanning beds are labeled as a carcinogenic, the same category as mustard gas, as previously mentioned. With all of this known information, the real question is, why has the ban on tanning to minors not happened already on a nationwide level?
Baker, M. K. (2013). Preventing skin cancer in adolescent girls through intervention with their mothers. (Order No. 3570302, East Tennessee State University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 240. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1372292033?accountid=9817. (1372292033).
Caplin, C. (2003). Don’t ban the rays ; staying safe in the sun is crucial, but don’t hide indoors all summern. Mail on Sunday Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/328794812?accountid=9817
Doheny, K. (2008). Tanning Myths: What’s True, What’s Hype?. WebMD. Retrieved July 7, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/beauty/sun/tanning-myths-whats-true- whats-hype
PR Newswire. (2011) New survey finds teen girls and young women need a lesson on dangers of indoor tanning. PR Newswire Retrieved July7, 2014 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/863557093?accountid=9817
PR Newswire. (2009) Indoor tanning association promotes responsible tanning for spring breakers. PR Newswire Retrieved July 6,2014 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/448186069?accountid=9817
Myth: Getting a “base tan” protects you from the sun. (2013). Canada NewsWire Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1283041885?accountid=9817
Rhodes, C. (2005). Does sunbathing have to be bad for your health? Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Britain. The Daily Telegraph Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/321215054?accountid=9817
Skin Cancer Foundation. (2014) Melanoma Soars among Young Adults. http://www.skincancer.org/news/melanoma/melanoma-young-adults-2012
Skin Cancer Foundation. (2014) The Dangers of Tanning. http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/tanning
Skin Cancer Foundation. (2014) Studies Find that More Skin Cancer Cases Due to Indoor Tanning than Lung Cancer Cases Due to Smoking. http://www.skincancer.org/news/tanning/international
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014) Indoor Tanning is Not Safe. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/indoor_tanning.htm