The kick-off to summer has arrived. Beach dates, pool parties and spending time outdoors will be on the list of many Collegiette’s’ agendas. With some fun in the sun this season, a few characteristics come with the summer territory; one in particular is a bronzed tan. With time off from schoolwork, tanning and relaxing become a part of the summer schedule. Avid tanners may even prepare for the main event during the spring by indoor tanning. While indoor tanning may be second nature for this generation of Collegiette’s, the new ban on indoor tanning for minors may change the way for the future.
In Chicago, the City Council voted in favor to ban the usage of tanning beds for anyone under the age of 18. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) led the way to secure the ban. The decision was made to fine whomever violates this up to $250. Spray-on tans, bronzers and private tanning devices were not included in the ban, as stated.
Aside from the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois allows minors over the age of 14 to use indoor tanning beds with the consent of a legal guardian. The Nation Conference of State Legislators states that the restriction of minors using tanning beds under the age of 18 with parental consent is the law in most cases across the nation, but it is legally banned for minors in California and Vermont under legislation. http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/indoor-tanning-restrictions-for-minors.aspx
One of the main consequences of indoor tanning is cancer — a risk that puts minors in a life-threatening situation. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common and excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation (indoor tanning) that can lead to cancer. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/SunandUVExposure/skin-cancer-facts
Ashlee Altobella, an employee of The Beach, one of Champaign-Urbana’s campus tanning salons, says she started tanning as a minor and was never afraid of the consequences because she used this privilege wisely.
“When I started tanning, I was in high school. I started because I wanted to get a base tan before I went on vacation so I didn’t get sunburned,” Altobella said. “I tanned a few times and began to love it. I was getting great color, but I also made sure that I wasn't overexposing my skin to the UV radiation. I was never afraid of the consequences of indoor tanning until news reports and the media kept reflecting on tanning in a bad light.”
Although Altobella disagrees with the ban of indoor tanning for minors, she also said that because of her job at The Beach, she has learned the safe routes to indoor tanning.
“I do not believe that tanning beds should be banned for minors, but I do feel that people need to become more educated on the pros and cons of tanning in general, instead of clearly focusing on the negatives. I encourage everyone to look into the SmartTan website, http://smarttan.com/salons.php. The website provides a lot statistics and information about how to tan without as much of a risk,” Altobella said. “All of The Beach staff had to go through a Smart Tan training as well and become Smart Tan certified. I learned that tanning is rather healthy for you, as long as clients are not overexposing their skin. At The Beach, we ensure that each client does not overexpose themselves and are making smart tanning decisions.”
With alternatives for indoor tanning such as lotions and bronzers, Altobella said spray tanning is a great alternative.
“I am currently an airbrush technician at Bodibronze Sunless Spa, which is a part of The Beach. Bodibronze specializes in customized airbrush spray tanning. It's completely safe and guarantees a very even, natural looking tan,” Altobella stated.
The process for spray tanning is quite different than indoor tanning, but Altobella said she recommends it to everyone.
“Before the bronzing process begins, we apply a normalizing treatment. The normalizing treatment serves the purpose of balancing the pH levels in the skin in order to ensure a natural, even looking tan. The normalizing treatment is like an "insurance policy" on your tan,” Altobella said. “After the normalizing is applied by the technician, the bronzing process begins. During this process, the technician sprays the client in the color depth of their choice. The application is very even. The spray tan lasts about 7-10 days with proper maintenance. It is very important to keep your skin hydrated after getting a spray tan.”
Altobella says that regardless of the choice an individual makes, both indoor and spray tanning involve making smart choices and having responsibility.
“Everyone has to make sure to take care of themselves,” Altobella said. “It’s important to make smart decisions and tan wisely.”