To Tan or Not To Tan? Is the Question

May 2nd, 2012
To Tan or Not To Tan? Is the Question

Dermatologists are at loggerheads over whether there is such a thing as a safe tan. Many believe that tanning the skin whether outdoors in the sun or indoors using tanning machines is safe and are therefore discouraging people, particularly young people from getting it done.

Dr. Carolyn Jacob, a dermatologist from Chicago recently told reporters: “There’s actually research that shows that tanning booths, which are comprised primarily of UVA (ultraviolet A) rays, increase your risk of developing melanoma, which is the deadliest form of (skin) cancer, by 75 percent.”

However, while tanning booth owners do not dispute the research, they do believe there is a safe way to tan. One such professional, Kristi Gibson who owns several tanning shops said: “We will have people come through the door and say, ‘I want to burn.’ No, you don’t. They’ll say, ‘Oh, I’ll tan after I burn. I have to burn first.’ No.”

She added: “People have a lack of education. Consistently burning yourself is not healthy whatsoever. To me, there’s a smart way to tan — going slow and not overexposing yourself is a healthier way to tan.”

Ms Gibson also urges young people to avoid over exposure to the tanning equipment. Doing so will avoid burning. However, Carolyn Jacobs wants youngsters to avoid this sort of procedure altogether. She argued: “The scientific facts are that tanning, in any amount, causes damage to the skin, which can lead to skin cancer, more so in people who are fair skin than darker skin — but the darker skin ones don’t need to go tanning.”

Similar arguments have been raging in Britain as well as the USA for a long time. One of the problems in the UK in the recent past was the over use of coin operated tanning machines- particular with teenagers. More worryingly despite many operators having an age limit, children often visited these shops unaware of how to use the machines effectively. As a consequence, they were burned.


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