“Melanoma Monday just passed, and no one will bug you about the risks of skin cancer for at least one year. You disconnect the timer on the sun bed and just slowly simmer. ” According to Dr. Terry Polevoy, the previous statement is one of the top ten comedic excuses why people use tanning beds. The use of tanning beds has grown significantly over the past twenty years. People often feel the need to have the so-called “perfect appearance” and most feel like they can achieve this by the help from a tanning bed.
In the upcoming discussion, the following areas will be addressed: the evolution of the use of tanning beds, why in terms of appearance are tanning beds used and the risks taken when the decision is made to use a tanning bed. Indoor tanning can trace its roots all the way to Germany. While research had been done on the effects of light before the invention of tanning beds, it was not until 1975 that the first tanning beds appeared. Friedrich Wolff is known for having introduced the first tanning units at this time, and was soon joined by others (“Tanning History”).
In the United States, the first units to become popular were the UVB booths, the same units that the dermatologist used. The rays from a tanning bed are long wave rays, which are known as UVA. The short waves from the sun are known as UVB (Corruth). They actually find their first use for tanning in the late 1960’s. The original units developed in Europe were very low in UVB. Since then, the United States market has developed new lamps. The majority of lamps used in the U. S. today are now in the 5. 0 to 9. 5 % UVB range (“Tanning History”).
Today the economy has driven the development of lamps towards a system, which more closely resembles natural sunlight. Once tanning beds became popular in 1980 the craze has only increased. Years ago a tan was consider a sign of the working class and people always wanted themselves as milky white (Paradee). People back then never had any type of color and were consider normal, but in today’s world if a person had no tan and was milky white they would be consider an albino or even ugly. Why has society put so much pressure on the world for all to be tan so our appearance is acceptable?
Well researchers from the American Tanning Beds Company states it because of a feel-good factor. They say, “Using a tanning unit brings them year long well-being “(“New Study…. “). The feel good factor consists of three main parts, using a tanning bed fulfills the mind because it allows for restoration and relaxation. It is good for the body because one is relaxing, while being surrounded by warmth and cool breezes. It also is fulfills the soul because looking better means more confidence in ones self, and when feeling great it brings the out the best in people (“New Study…. ).
Tanning helps boost people’s self-esteem because a good tan is consider the ideal color today. Most people want to be considering beautiful by others and to be accepted so they therefore want to have the looks of a typical good-looking person. In this case a stereotypical female would be thin, clean, and with nice skin usually a tan. On the other hand males would be muscular, tall, and dark skin. Some people even believe in the myth that using the tanning beds would help clear up acne (Swerdlow). The tanning bed is defiantly the latest trend in all tanning (Paradee).
A recent survey about tanning beds was given out to students between the ages of eighteen to twenty-one, fifteen females and ten males. Most of the participants were Caucasian along with two Hispanics. The results were quite astonishing; the students were using tanning beds two to three times a week for at least twenty minutes each visit. Many who used tanning beds often felt pressure by society to look good, and they felt like being tan would achieve the perfect image. One said, “Being tan makes me feel good, and that they look better with some skin color”.
A shocking result was when they were asked if they think they are endangering their health. Many responded with yes and that they know that they’re not safe but still continue to tan because they haven’t experienced any side effects from it (Klumb). Why do people ignore these factors and still continue to tan? Perhaps the people are not fully aware of the potential dangers that can occur while using tanning beds, or some may have not experienced the use of tanning beds and are curious to try it out, and still there are those who go for the tanning salon advertisements.
An article written by Jerry Deveney, a director of marketing for Sun Industries Inc, talked about active tanners and those who were untanned. He explains that the untanned have not experienced what tanning beds can do to one’s self esteem. He states that, “Tanning also becomes a part of the fitness routine for many and also reflects the looking -good attitude of the nation”. Untanned masses outnumber the active tanners by a ten to one ration. He insists throughout his article that tanning salons must create new ways to keep active tanners and at the same time find ways to get the untanned to experience indoor tanning (Deveney).
Tanning salons try many new ways to keep customers and promote indoor tanning to new customers. There are over thousands of tanning salons in the United States. Advertising is one of the main reasons to keep people going back and to keep their business booming. Advertisements such as new bulbs and new beds don’t appeal to those who have never tanned before because, many don’t understand what it means and won’t try it. Those advertisements that actually get the new visitors in a tanning bed would be those that persuade them to use their equipment (Deveney).
Many businesses send out advertisements with deals. Some might say four visits for four dollars others might say bring a friend or new customer and receive a free visit. One a person sees the word “free”; he or she is mostly likely to try it out. Another reason why advertisements play a big role in the tanning industry is because each business is constantly striving to get the best customers.
Once a person attends the tanning bed salon they feel very welcome, and one might get drawn in to this atmosphere and continue to tan because they are liked at a certain salon, which makes one feel good. Indoor tanning seems to be the answer to every sun lovers prayers. ” According to Elizabeth Corruth, a health psychologist from the University of Vanderbilt. Most people believe they can tan safely without getting harm or dangerous effects. People think about how they look and will damage themselves to achieve the feel-good factor. Most are not interested in the facts of skin cancer and how harmful tanning beds really are; they are just worried about their appearance.
Research has been done and the results are that there is no such thing as healthy tan. Tanning beds give off twice as much ultraviolet radiation as the sun does. The UVA rays don’t burn the skin like UVB rays, but they burn deeper into the skin and cause more damage. A tanning bed is like being outdoors in the sun between 10a. m. to 4p. m, wearing no protective clothing, and wearing no sunscreen. A twenty-minute exposure in the tanning bed is equal to a full day at the beach (Paradee).
A tan is evidence that the skin has been harmed, since the color shows the body trying to protect itself. Vitamin D is emitted from only a small part of sunlight, and one does not need to tan to get the Vitamin the body needs. Some research will argue that tanning is good for the body because of this new breakthrough with the Vitamin D, but at the same time it has been proven that one can receive the vitamin from other sources, and that skin cancer is a major result is tanning beds and it has been proven time and time again. Tanning Beds aren’t safe.
As the tanning trend increases in our society today, it is important for people to understand how tanning beds came about, why people feel the need to be tan, and the consequences of using a tanning bed. After doing research society influences many people to have that good-looking appearance. However using the tanning beds can also be traced to physiological factors where one believes they need to feel good about themselves which is known as the feel good factor. The skin color shouldn’t be the most important part of anyone, so why risk it. Don’t die just to be tan!
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