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Is Reality TV linked to Tanning?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.


It’s that time of year again. Cold weather numbing our noses, big winter coats engulfing our bodies and warm scarves being wrapped around our necks. It’s the time of year when our sun-kissed glow from the summer is nothing but a faint memory.

With the combination of these factors and Spring Break rapidly approaching, many students might be tempted to go hit the tanning beds.

According to U.S. News’ Health Day, “A nationwide online survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology found that 58 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 believe people look more attractive with a tan.”

Yet there are risks that come along with using tanning beds. In 2012, CBS News reported that a study found 170,000 cases of skin cancer associated with tanning beds in the United States each year. CBS reported, “Patients who were exposed to indoor tanning before age 25 were at a greater risk for basal cell carcinoma, a slow-growing cancer that is the most common type of non-melanoma skin cancer in the U.S. in people over 40 years old.”

And this demographic is also most likely the target audience of reality TV shows. If you’re a reality TV fan, you may have to be extra careful to resist the temptation to tan. Last month, MSN reported a study that found that fans of reality beauty shows were twice as likely to tan.

However, University of Maryland students seem to disagree with this study.

Lauralee Fangmeyer, a junior biology major, says that she rarely watches reality TV. Yet, she is an avid tanner.

“I go tanning because I feel like I look better when I’m tan,” Fangmeyer says. “It helps clear up my skin, which makes me more comfortable and confident with myself.”

If anything, Fangmeyer believes that reality TV gives tanning a negative connotation, especially shows like the Jersey Shore.

And Jessica Pinzon, a junior hearing and speech sciences major, agrees with Fangmeyer. She doesn’t see any correlation between tanning and reality TV.

“People on reality shows aren’t taken seriously,” Pinzon says. “Young people that want to go tanning base their decisions on other things. For me, I thought it made me look prettier.”

Pinzon loves watching reality shows including: Dance Moms, Jersey Shore and Real World. Yet after a skin cancer scare due to tanning in 2011, Pinzon strongly advocates not using tanning beds.  Instead, she suggests using lotions, such as Jergens Natural Glow, to achieve a tan look.

So whether you like reality shows or not, you may want to be up-to-date on the latest tanning bed research and associated risks – and maybe even try an alternative, like Jergens lotion!