Tanning beds present skin cancer risk across demographics

Story and Photo by Melanie Leach

tanning1_leach-w2000-h2000Although students know the hazards of indoor tanning can lead to health problems, especially skin cancer, most are unwilling to stop.

When skin is tanned too frequently with the use of a tanning bed, it starts to look unnatural, leathery and orange-colored.

Tenley Steinke, an employee at Sunsation Spa in Des Moines, said women who tan too frequently may have fostered an addiction to the confidence that comes with developing darker skin.

As an employee, Steinke has the option of free tanning if she meets sales goals. However, she is constantly aware of the hazards involved.

“I think indoor tanning is beneficial and is detrimental,” Steinke said.

Most people who tan begin in order to darken their skin within a short period of time, such as for a school dance or in preparation for vacation.

Although most women are aware of the price that they pay for their skin, most get caught up in the benefits that indoor tanning can bring. While tanning can improve complexions and reduce acne, people tend to abuse this advantage.

That is how Drake student Carly Grenfell feels. Since she does not tan frequently, she believes her health is less at risk.

“I am aware of all the health hazards that come with (indoor tanning), but I am not a consistent tanner. It’s not as big of a concern for me. It’s not enough to stop me from tanning,” Grenfell said.

However, people need to be constantly aware of the risks that tanning brings.

First-year Claire Van Treeck is mindful of the possible risks to her future health.

“I respect people who do it, but it’s just not for me. I wear sunscreen and will never tan in a bed,” Van Treeck said.

The biggest problem may be women being self-conscious of their natural skin tone. Many students have said they tan because they have such pale skin and feel the need to darken it.

“I am worried, but since I am still young, it is hard to think about how the consequences of my actions will affect the future,” Steinke said.

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