Editorial: Consider health risks before fake-baking

Makayla Mais, Editor-In-Chief

  Prom season is just around the corner, and one of the most popular prom preparations among teens is tanning. Most female students will hit the tanning bed to achieve a sun-kissed glow for pictures, but do so even with the potentially dangerous health risks. Only 27 percent of 126 polled at Warsaw High School tan. Of that 27 percent, 67.6 percent use tanning beds, and use them up to five or more times a week.

  According to “Think Twice Before Tanning for Prom” by Skin Cancer Foundation, researchers have shown that the use of tanning beds before the age of 35 can increase the chance of melanoma by a whopping 75 percent. Also, 90 percent of visible skin changes contributing to aging, such as wrinkles, leathering, and fine lines, can be caused by the ultraviolet radiation linked with tanning beds. Described in “Skin Cancer Kills” by Women’s Health, cases of melanoma, linked to women who use tanning beds more than the anyone else, have increased eightfold among women ages 18 to 39 since 2010.  

  Also in “Skin Cancer Kills” by Women’s Health, behavioral scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City surveyed more than 500 college students in the United States to try to figure out why young women still tan, even when they know the potential risks. “Everything causes cancer these days” and tanning is “no more risky than lots of other things people do” were the most popular answers, coordinating with the 91.2 percent of the 126 polled that tan knowing the risks.

  In “I Tanned 5 Days a Week Until I Got Skin Cancer at 20” by Seventeen Magazine, beauty blogger Kaitlyn Russell discussed her experience with tanning beds while she was in college. Russell tanned at a local tanning salon five days a week, averaging 20-minute sessions in lay-down beds and 8-minute sessions in stand-up beds. While Russell deemed this as the best way to get sun-kissed skin with naturally fair skin, she soon realized that by doing so, two different types of skin cancer had formed spots on her nose and leg. Melanoma, known for being the most aggressive form of skin cancer, had made its home on her leg, and basal cell carcinoma on her face. A week later, Russell had the spots removed, and has not used a tanning bed since.

  In my opinion, there are much safer ways to tan than using tanning beds, especially with the pending risks that come with using them. Possible alternatives to tanning in tanning beds can be self-applied tanning lotion and according to “5 Ways To Get A Tan Without The Sun” by Eluxe Magazine, organic self-applied tanning lotion should be used to avoid issues of skin sensitivity and harsh chemicals. Professional spray tans are also an option if you want to avoid ultraviolet radiation and will offer even coverage.

  In my opinion, staying healthy completely outweighs the risks that settle into the cost and time of using tanning beds. I would much rather have healthier skin than potentially be under the knife. So before exposing yourself to potential health risks, think about the alternative and staying healthy.