Tanning salons cause skepticism among health professionals
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 18:03
Ever wonder what the real truth is about tanning salons? The popular trend of tanning has been in question since it first originated as research has shown that fake tanning has several severe and negative consequences.
However, tanning salons have still remained a “hot” trend among college students and young adults despite its controversy.
The growing obsession has prompted doctors and health care professionals to question these potentially high-risk means to quickly and artificially become a few shades darker.
Our generation has been taught that sunscreen is a must when heading outdoors; especially since skin cancer has become an epidemic in our society.
However, the move away from lying out and baking in the sun has now given rise to tanning salons.
The number of tanning salons has increased immensely in the last ten years.
Originally, tanning salons only housed tanning beds, but now spray tans have become an essential technique to getting the ideal sun-kissed glow. Now, doctors and skincare professionals are skeptical that the “fake bake” alternative is actually worse than natural sun bathing.
Additionally, medical experts are concerned that indoor tanning is not only physically harmful, but also mentally detrimental, causing a “tanning addiction.”
What are the actual statistics regarding these opposing viewpoints?
Nearly 2.3 million American teenagers visiting tanning beds every year, according to skincancer.org. Tanning beds are the most popular tanning technique.
Tanning beds contain high levels of ultraviolet light to speed up the process of skin pigmentation. Normal indoor tanners start out at low levels and gradually increase the minutes each session to develop a darker shade.
However, according to The Skin Care Foundation, “indoor ultra violet tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.”
Moreover, tanning salons usually falsely advertise that tanning beds provide a base tan that actually prevent skin cancer when catching natural rays.
In reality, the risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma is much more likely indoors than outdoors.
On the other hand, many are deciding to skip the dangerous ultraviolet light and rather get a “spray-on” tan. The spray tan fascination began when photographed models and celebrities admitted to being airbrushed before a photo shoot. This opened up the idea for tanning salons to offer machine based spray tans. Common types are the “versa spa” and “mystic tanning,” which claim to use a solution that is actually nourishing for skin.
In 2012, ABC News performed an extensive study and investigation regarding this “healthy” spray tan claim.
When studied, professionals came to the conclusion that the compound spray tans use actually contains a chemical called DHA or dihydroxyacetone.
Many tanning salons publicize that DHA is safe and even good to eat, according to prevention.com. This is false information because the DHA in the solution is an entirely different chemical than that in food.
DHA can have harmful effects such as “genetic alterations and DNA damage.”
In an ABC study, Dr. Rey Panettieri, discussed this issue. The compounds could actually promote the development of cancers or malignanciesm, he said.
The real danger can come with inhaling the product, possibly causing lung complications. Further research is still being conducted on this chemical.
The main problem with tanning is the dependency associated with it. Some adolescents and teens become everyday users and Dr. June Robinson, a Chicago dermatologist, claims that many teens have begun to tan to “relieve stress and socialize.”
Even extreme tanners are now being profiled in the media. Patricia Krentcil, otherwise known as the “tan mom,” has been criticized in the news for her unnatural, tanning provoked, skin color and even bringing her 5-year-old daughter to a tanning booth.
The emotional addiction to tanning has even been associated with nicotine and is seen among people of all ages, causing harmful and physically destructive results.
Tanning is a serious medical topic that needs to be addressed among the younger generations. The health effects can be severe and teens need to be properly educated before making the choice to head to a tanning salon.
Most importantly, tanning salons need to truthfully show the tanning facts to their clients prior to purchasing a tanning method.