By: Hanna Aaronson
Many of you are well aware that during the winter months our skin can turn rather pasty. This is especially true if you live in a cold state where most of the year calls for warm clothing and lots of layers.
Today there is a stigma that pale skin is somehow less attractive than dark or tan skin. But the desire to have a natural glow can promote the dangerous habit known as indoor tanning.
Sunless, or indoor tanning in beds, is a hobby that is extremely addictive and can have extremely negative consequences on one’s health, including changes in ones skin texture, premature aging, wrinkles and even cancer.
Indoor tanning is designed to give you a high level of ultra violet (UV) exposure in a quick time frame. This powerful light damages your skin cells, hence why it causes wrinkles and age spots. While we may all want to look nice and tan, when our skin color darkens it means it has become damaged.
A common misconception about tanning is that it is a good source of vitamin D, which is necessary for strong and healthy bones and skin. But the safest way to ensure you are getting enough Vitamin D is through proper diet. The best foods to eat to ensure you get plenty of vitamin D are fish, egg yolks, cheese and mushrooms. Multi-vitamins are also a safer alternative.
Although tanning outside is still dangerous, natural light is better for your skin than indoor tanning. Just make sure you take necessary safety precautions like wearing good sunscreen, at least SPF 30, and not staying out in the sun for too long at one time.
Tanning has many harmful effects: around 400,000 cases of skin cancer a year are related to indoor tanning. The most common demographic reported to be fans of indoor tanners are non-Hispanic, white, young females. Recently, many states have banned indoor tanning for people under 18, while some countries have banned indoor tanning all together.
Indoor tanning causes the highest rates of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. And for both men and women, the likeliness of being diagnosed with melanoma rises 15 percent after only one use of an indoor tanning bed. Along with that, seven studies have found that people who use a tanning bed before the age of 35 increase their risk of getting melanoma by 75 percent.
Using tanning beds is not worth the risk of developing cancer or causing serious damage to your skin. If you are looking for a healthy glow in the winter months, there are many safer ways to do it. Like using products such as Jergen’s natural glow or Neutrogena’s sunless tanner. These lotions give your skin a natural looking tint without the harmful effects of UV radiation, so do not even be afraid to use them this summer.
With many sunny days ahead of us, make sure to be smart when it comes to the sun and skin exposure. Always wear sunscreen and try to not be in the sun for too long. Having glowing skin may make you look healthy now, but is it worth it down the road when you have skin cancer?