The obsession continues on a daily basis perfecting something so imperfect of someone’s outer canvas. Teenagers, even adults, craving the desire of having sun kissed skin year round. Skin so smooth and radiant making a person feel so empowered about their appearance. To some, tanned skin is a confidence booster but to others it’s just the way of life; a daily ritual of bronzing the body in a local tanning bed. The tanning epidemic in females has increased throughout the years to present the perfect image to their peers.
Young teenagers are tanning on a daily basis using up their monthly tanning packages before their prom. Models tanning weekly to keep up with the summer tan look for swimsuit photo shoots that are shot in the winter months. Indulging in tanning for a brief 15 minute session is relaxing and unwinds the busy day. Unknowingly, the calming tanning bed is dangerous deep down. Tanning is harmful to the body is many different ways. The underlying effects of tanning aren’t so obvious to the person lying or standing a few inches away from the UV rays in the nearby tanning salon.
The almost instant gratification a tanning bed provides in a single session is more convenient for those who wish to get the golden brown tan because the availability of a bronzing tanning lotion combined with UV rays is a great benefit to the customer as it helps enhances the tanning result. Underneath the convenience method lies a dangerous future ahead with complications of severe skin cancer even using a tanning lotion, such as melanoma, vision impairments and unwanted premature aging due to a fast confidence desire that slowly diminishes over a period of time without the initial acknowledgment of what lies ahead.
For all tanners who use the tanning bed technique are required to apply an indoor tanning lotion. An indoor tanning lotion is used primarily to coat the entire outer shell of the human body and allow the lotion to absorb into the skin while being subjected to the ultraviolet ray of the tanning bulbs. The tanning lotion is used as a protector against direct ultraviolet rays hitting the skin but to also accelerate the overall look of the tan with the built in body bronzing pigments in the lotion itself. Primarily, tanning salons use UVA and UVB light bulbs in their beds and booths.
A UVB ray is a short wavelength that reaches the outer layer of the skin as the UVA rays have a longer wavelength that can penetrate through the outer most layer of the skin to the middle layer for deeper penetration (Ting 1253). The UVB radiation helps the skin produce a type of Vitamin D which plays an important role in bone and muscle health. “However, the amount of UVB exposure needed to obtain a benefit depends on several different factors, such as: the amount of Vitamin D in a diet, skin color, sunscreen use, time of day and the time of year. ” (Ting 1253) Both UVA and UVB rays can cause damage to the skin.
Receiving a sunburn from the natural sun is a sign of short-term over exposure to the outer layer of the skin while skin cancer and premature aging are side effect of repeated UV exposure, such as facilitating a tanning salon daily or weekly. The continuation of associating repetitive UVA and/or UVB exposure increases the opportunity to welcome a severe case of skin cancer to the skins surface. Ultraviolet radiation promotes skin cancer in 2 very distinct ways. The ultraviolet radiation damages the “DNA in skin cells causing the skin to grow abnormally and develop benign or malignant growth.
” (“Radiation- Emitting Products”) The exposure also weakens the immune system and compromises the body’s natural defenses against aggressive cancer cells. (“Radiation- Emitting Products”) The breaking down of cells and developing suspicious growths on the skin are not common with tanning usages. Symptoms to be concerned about are the benign growths on the skin that are most often formed in moles, birthmarks or other dark pigmentations on the skin. The growths tend to bleed on the skins surface which feels itchy and tender to the touch.
(“Radiation- Emitting Products”) Such symptoms lead into the path of melanoma (Ting 1253). Melanoma is less common but a more dangerous form of skin cancer and is incorporated with most of the deaths in the U. S due to skin cancer each year. (“Radiation- Emitting Products”) The melanoma disease begins within the skin cells that produce melanin throughout the body. Such skin cells the ultraviolet light has been breaking down since the ultraviolet ray exposure. Furthermore, not only does tanning beds or booths damage skin but also another very sensitive and important part of the human body, vision.
Tanning salons do take proper steps to protect their customers against such eye damage but even so, this prevention isn’t solid. The goggles being used are of plastic to cover the lid or a cone-like-sticker is used as well to cover the eye. UVA and UVB lights are strong enough to seep through the eye wear and affect the vision of customers. Long-term effect of using tanning beds contributes to cataracts or photokeratitis of the eye. (Roy-Boynstein 11) Photokeratitis is most commonly known as ultraviolet keratitis or snow blindness.
The photokeratitis eye disease can be thought of as sunburn to the cornea. The cornea hardens over a short period of time if eyes are not protected properly. Common symptoms for photokeratitis are tearing, pain of the eye, redness, swollen eyelids, headache, gritty feeling in the eyes, hazy vision and temporary loss of vision. Symptoms may not appear until 6-12 hours after the UV exposure (“Photokeratitis”). If left untreated vision will not return. If caught early on eye drops and patches are provided by a primary care physician but is not a guarantee that vision will return in whole.