Posted by: lindseychristine | October 11, 2009

The Curse of the Tanning Trend

tanning_bed_3The desire to have the ideal, golden bronze appearance has made visits to tanning salons a popular activity amongst a surplus of college students. As the profitable tanning industry rakes in more than $5 billion each year, according to the Indoor Tanning Association, tanning bed fans set themselves up for a rude awakening.

Since tanning often appears to be a must amongst this population, many do not realize how incredibly damaging and harmful it is to the body to routinely bask in UV rays. The Journal of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescence Medicine reported that teenagers are nowhere close to worrying or being concerned about the health consequences associated with tanning practices, according to a Discover Magazine report in August 2006.

The urge to maintain a tan, dark body has led individuals to become frequent visitors to tanning beds and stand ups, ultimately increasing their risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of cancer. Young people who routinely choose to tan are eight times more likely to develop melanoma, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer reported by The Boston Globe in July.

A surge in research studies linking those who tan to cancer led to the medical journal, Lancet Oncology, to report, “Tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation are definite causes of cancer, alongside tobacco,” this past July.

The American Cancer Society predicts close to 69,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year. Cancer experts found ultraviolet radiation to be one of the highest risk factors for cancer and have been compared to poisonous substances like arsenic and mustard gas, according to The Boston Globe report in July. Like the carcinogens in tobacco, experts say the UV rays in a tanning booth are highly comparable to the poisonous ingredients found in cigarettes.

victoria-beckham-orange-tan-240tp072009Teens and young adults have become incredibly brainwashed by the media and fashion industry to maintain a beautiful, tan body in order to feel attractive like the bronzed models on magazine covers and actors on TV. Whether models choose to tan or their bodies are Photoshopped to appear more golden, mainstream media has encouraged the younger generation that tanner is better. This trend ultimately sends the poor message to younger generations to embrace a superficial lifestyle, rather than embracing natural beauty. As a result, there is a constant want and need for a tan glow to feel appealing.

A national survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology confirmed, “More than half of all men and women said people look better with a tan,” according to a CBS News report in May 2005. Although melanoma is a highly preventable form of cancer, ultimately powerful societal norms of how one is supposed to look push many into unsafe UV filled beds.

For those who cannot give up trips to the tanning salon, the FDA suggests adults should limit their visits to no more than three times a week, according to a report in this month’s issue of Time Magazine.

They say pain is beauty, but purposely placing your body at risk for developing skin cancer in the future isn’t worth the beauty benefits.



  1. Amen ! We are well overdue to kiss this fad goodbye.

  2. It’s a difficult habit to give up once you’ve experienced the joy of the “healthy” glow. The difficult part about convincing people of the dangers is the amount of sun worshippers that we all see out there; at the beach, everybody is lying out, there are several tanning salons in every town, and everyone’s friends are doin it. Tans being “in” is part of our current culture and hopefully we will soon move to a view similar to cultures like Japan where tans are”out”.
    But until then I will try my best to start slappin on the sunless tanning lotions instead.

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