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Orange is NOT the New Black: The Dangers of Tanning

“I don’t go tanning anymore because Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning. McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning. Because he’s pale and would probably want to be tan.”

– Nicole Polizzi (Snooki)

Winter is over and you’re excited for spring. You’re sick of being pale and decide that you NEED some color. However; whether your glow is from a tanning bed, or natural from the sun, every time you expose yourself to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, you are damaging your skin. 

MYTH: Tanning beds are safer than lying out in the sun.

REALITY: Exposing yourself to any type of UV radiation, whether it be from the sun or from a tanning bed, is harmful to your skin.

According to a study published in 2007, if you use a tanning bed before the age of 35, your risk of getting melanoma increases by 75 percent.

But what exactly is Melanoma? Melanoma is a cancer that starts in skin cells. Melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, but it is by far the most serious. It can be treated if caught early, however it can travel to other parts of the body, potentially making it fatal. 

Because the connection between using tanning beds and getting skin cancer has been found to be so strong, many states have passed laws beginning in 2012 that restrict young adults from using tanning beds.

What can you do? Never go to a tanning bed, ever. The temporary glow is not worth the permanent health risks.

MYTH: A little sun is good for you!

REALITY: Although the sun can make us look and feel our best, even the slightest tan represents damage to your skin cells. Sun exposure can make you glow short term, but it has many more negative long term effects. Basically, it makes you look older faster and can give you premature wrinkles – yikes!

What can you do? Always protect yourself. Doctors recommend using sunscreen of at least 30 SPF or higher, no matter what your skin type.

What is SPF? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. This is measure of how well a sunscreen will protect your skin against UVB rays. 

ALTERNATIVE: Scared of sun spots? There are plenty of self-tanners that you can use yourself without any damaging effects to your skin. Here’s a list of amazing self-tanners, courtesy of Total Beauty

TIPS: Before you apply self-tanner, take a shower and exfoliate to remove dead skin cells. This will ensure that your tan will be absorbed easily, you don’t want blotches!

Wash your hands thoroughly after applying self tanner, you don’t want orange hands.

After applying, wear loose fitting clothes for about an hour, just in case excess lotion rubs off.

FINAL NOTE: Embrace your skin and be proud of it, no matter what tone it may be.

Sources (Information): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Junior Political Science and Legal Studies Double Major at UMass Amherst.
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