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The Truth Inside the Tanning Bed

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

The Truth Inside the Tanning Bed

Tanning beds aren’t the correct way to help your body produce vitamin D.

By: Alyssa Riegel


Ladies, we need to talk. It’s only the beginning of April and most of you look like you just returned from a tropical vacation in August. It’s not OK. Fake tanning is one of the most deceiving scams out there. Why am I saying this? Why would I discredit such an industry that makes you look tan and beautiful all year round?


            The truth inside of the tanning bed is something that has everyone turning his or her head the other way. We, as young women, need to stop purposely harming our bodies. Now, I’m not saying that tanning is the only way that we’re killing ourselves, because we do a lot of other dumb things too, however, the purposeful, harmful UVA radiation to our skin should not be something we aspire to continue.


            According to the experts at the Melanoma Research Foundation, the leaders of the tanning industry tell us that we need vitamin D, which is true, but what they don’t tell us is that more than half of all tanning beds produce UVA radiation. To effectively aid your body in producing natural vitamin D, we need UVB radiation. We don’t get that from tanning beds.


In fact, according to Scientific American, more than three quarters of both U.S. teens and young adults are vitamin D deficient, myself included. Being vitamin D deficient puts everyone who suffers from it at a higher risk of getting cancer, diabetes and heart disease.


Other than the fact that I am vitamin D deficient, which I did not know about until January of 2016, I have previously used a tanning bed multiple times throughout high school. This being said, I have also played softball for many years and I was always used to the fact that during the summers I spent the majority of my time outside in the sun. Because of my increased time in the sun, I have always been covered in many freckles. More recently, I began to notice that one of the freckles on my face started to darken and grow. I thought nothing of it, but thankfully for me, my super-medical aunt and mother suggested I get it looked at.


In March 2016, I had a dermatologist appointment to look at the darkening spot. Upon arrival of my appointment, the doctor immediately removed the spot and sent it for a biopsy. When the biopsy came back he ruled it as “atypical nevi,” which in Laymen’s terms means that these dark moles resemble Melanoma and that whoever has these moles is anywhere from 7-27 times more likely to contract skin cancer than the common person.


There’s no way to prove that my excessive time in the sun or in a tanning bed was at fault for the dark spots on my skin, but it sure wasn’t helpful…


According to American Academy of Dermatology, there are 4 main types of skin cancer. The four main categories are Actinic Keratoses, dry, scaly patches and precancerous growths; Basal Cell Carcinoma, flesh colored bumps more common on fair skin; Squamous Cell Carcinoma, the second most common type of skin cancer that produces red, firm bumps; and Melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer that comes from dark spots that are abnormal in size, color and diameter.



I think that it is important that we start to recognize that we need to protect our skin from natural and artificial UVA. So ladies, what we need to do is to stop using tanning beds, start using sunscreen and be more careful at checking our skin for “bad spots.”


Cat enthusiast. Traveler. Aspiring PR professional.
I'm Nicole! Nikki, Nic, anything you want to call me really. I'm from south-eastern Pennsylvania and I love life and beauty. Whenever I'm not writing or taking pictures for my blogs or social media accounts, you can find me (hopefully) at the beach surfing, traveling, making new friends and seeing new places. I'm in love with people I've never met and places I've never been to. I am currently a Senior (!!!) at Shippensburg University, majoring in Communications Journalism (focusing in Public Relations) and minoring in Psychology. I would love to work for a PR firm with advertising, event planning and perhaps a chance to travel. Thanks for reading!! - Nicole