Tanning not worth the health costs

Marie Collop, Campus Carrier Assistant Sports Editor

Almost every magazine you see on the racks has a flawless, beautiful, perfectly tanned model on the cover. In today’s society, being tan is considered being beautiful.

Similar to being overly thin, being tan is a more desirable, yet unhealthier look. Individuals fail to recognize the adverse health effects that come with being unnaturally tan.

In general, humans find being tan more attractive. When someone is sporting an even, bronzed look, they appear healthier. This socially desirable look lures people into sacrificing their health for their beauty. Today, going to tanning salons and laying out on the beach and by the pool have become some of humans’ most popular past times. Despite a large amount of literature on the topic and a general population that is well versed on the adverse effects of tanning, people still tan excessively.

With adverse health effects like premature aging, eye damage, sunburn and most importantly, skin cancer, the desire to look beautiful shouldn’t be enough. In the past, doctors concluded that absorbing the sun’s rays was healthy, allowing your body to produce Vitamin D and suppress excessive release of melatonin, which aids in preventing depression. Absorbing UV rays still has these positive health outcomes, but our society has taken tanning to the extreme.

On the flip side, being safe and smart about your tanning habits can wreak major health benefits. Wearing sunscreen and limiting you hours outside will lessen your future wrinkles, your chance of getting sunburnt, and the development of brown-spots and uneven skin. Being smart about tanning now may not be the coolest practice, but will surely pay off down the line for a majority of our life. Changing our everyday practices is difficult for people our age when the benefits are wreaked immediately. In order to accomplish this, an individual must be disciplined when limiting sun exposure and applying sunscreen. We have to recognize that by applying sunscreen today, and jeopardizing a golden tan, our future self will thank us.

One of the biggest problems is when people tan in the winter months, when their skin becomes naturally lighter from the lack of sun. This exposure makes one far more susceptible to repeated sunburns, tremendously increasing one’s chance of skin cancer.

As a society, we need to open our eyes to different kinds of beauty. We need to realize that being different shades, aside from tan is beautiful as well. Similar to the misconception that skinny girls are beautiful girls, and plus-size women are unattractive, we need change our perception of what is considered beautiful. In a generation that is argued as being the most open-minded ever, this should be an easy feat. 

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