The truth about tanning; what they haven’t told you

By Farrah Jacobson

Since the fall and winter weather here, people are wanting to go tanning so they can keep their glow that they had from the summer. Tan skin is more popular right now than pale or pasty white skin, in effect more and more people are going to go to tanning salons.

Popular questions some people ask are, “Is it safe?” “Can you burn?” “Is it harmful for my skin?” The people that work at tanning salons aren’t going to tell everyone else the truth because after all… it is a business.

They’re trying to make money off of people, so if that means telling a little white lie that everything is fine and dandy then they are going to do it. Truth is, tanning is harmful for people’s skin.

The ultraviolet (UV rays) from the sun and tanning bed lamps can lead to skin cancer and also give people premature skin aging including wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, melanoma and more. Although there are different types of beds that say won’t burn the skin or are safer than the regular ones, they still produce the UV rays that can lead to devastating and unattractive results after a prolonged or short usage, on every different type of person.

In fact, tanning has become so popular that President Barack Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning salons as of July 1, 2010. Even though there are tons of unhealthy negatives that come from tanning, there are also some positive benefits.

Sun exposure actually isn’t all that bad, in fact a lot of it is good for everyone. According to the Discovery Health network, a chronic lack of sun exposure (which a lot of people in the Pacific Northwest know about) can lead to depression and poor health, involving symptoms like sadness and fatigue.

Sunlight and UV rays create vitamin D which helps the body produce serotonin, a hormone that makes people feel awake and happy. This is vital for our moods, especially during the fall and winter so that not only during the spring and summer we feel more positive but during the time when the sun rarely shines as well.

As long as people aren’t using tanning beds for the rest of their life up to four times a week, chances are people who use tanning beds in moderation are going to be okay. When someone lives in an area where rain is prevalent and the sun rarely shines, people need a source of vitamin D to keep themselves from getting depressed and lazy, since darkness attributes to the melatonin hormone that makes us want to sleep.