Teen’s Futures with Ultraviolet Overexposure: An Argument Paper

Today, there are over 200 different known cancers that affect humans. The cause of cancer can either be hereditary or brought on by carcinogens, factors known to increase the risk of cancer. Throughout life, there are unavoidable carcinogens damaging people; however, there are certain measures that could be taken to help reduce the impact. An example of an unavoidable carcinogen is exposure to ultraviolet rays directly from the sun. Using sufficient sun block that has a strong enough SPF can reduce the impact of those rays.

There are also avoidable carcinogens that people knowingly expose themselves to. An example of an avoidable factor is exposure to ultraviolent rays from tanning beds. Some young adults believe that tanning beds are not a major risk factor leading to skin cancer; however, ultraviolet rays are scientifically and medically proven carcinogens. The amount of skin cancer and other health issues associated with UV radiation would decrease if the indoor tanning bed industry was off limits to minors and young adults.

Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. UV rays have enough energy to damage the DNA is cells, causing uncontrolled division of those cells, otherwise known as cancer. The two most common types of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell, tend to be found on the areas exposed to sun, and their occurrence is related to lifelong sun exposure. Studies have shown that people who first use a tanning bed before the age of 35 increase their risk for basal or squamous skin cancer by 75 percent.

Prevention from getting these types of skin cancer include applying sunscreen whenever under harsh sun conditions and not exposing skin to man-made ultraviolet radiation sources, for example, tanning beds. When in the developing years, the skin is more prone to being damaged, which is why it is important to prevent teens and young adults from excessive UV exposure. If youths are prohibited from the tanning bed industry, their skin will be less prone to developing basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer.

Not only does tanning increase the risk of getting skin cancer, but it also causes premature aging, cataracts and eye damage, and in some cases, immune system damage. Premature aging to the skin can include things such as wrinkling, irregular pigmentation, and loss of skin elasticity. Aging of the skin is unavoidable in natural aging cases; however, pre-mature aging of the skin can be avoided by protecting one’s skin at a young age. Cataracts are a form of eye damage in which a loss of transparency in the lens of the eye clouds up vision.

Research has shown that UV radiation increases the likelihood of certain cataracts. Other types of eye damage associated with UV rays include pterygium (tissue growth that can block vision), skin cancer around the eyes, and degeneration of the macula (the part of the retina where visual perception is most acute). Another problem associated with overexposure to ultraviolet radiation is the suppression of function in the body’s immune system and the skin’s natural defenses.

When the immune system’s functions are suppressed, the body’s abilities to defeat diseases, like skin cancer, is reduced. The irresponsible choices that teenagers are making now are eventually going to cause many health issues in the long run. Is something as simple as a bronze tint worth all the side effects? Many minors are told of how tanning beds can affect their future, but few actually believe the facts and prevent themselves from getting skin cancer. One of the main reasons that teenagers go to tanning beds is to darken their skin.

According to Samantha Hessel, a student at the University of Wisconsin, “Society makes you feel being tanned is prettier than being pasty white” (Park). Hessel admits to CNN News that she started attending to tanning salons her freshman year of high school, and by the time she was a freshman in college, she had melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that laws should ban minors from going to tanning parlors, while the Indoor Tanning Association disagrees.

They believe that the decision is “best left for parents, not the government” (Park). I agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics that the minors should not be able to go to tanning salons because not only are teenagers less capable of making responsible decisions, but these choices could be life altering as seen with the example above. Teens should not be able to make these decisions while they are under the pressure from media and society to be what is “beautiful”.

They are increasing their chance of skin cancer by 75 percent and pre-aging their skin by 10 to 20 years in order to please others. If the goal in tanning is obtaining a darker skin, teens should be aware that there are other options to do so without the damage. For people that need a tan in order to feel beautiful, there are other harmless options to get that golden glow. The options include tanning bronzers and extenders. These are technically considered cosmetics because they are for external use only. The bronzers like spray tans stain your skin for a short time and can be washed off with soap and water.

There is no need to damage your skin cells in the process of getting bronzed. So with the other options available, it is obvious he after effects of excessive ultraviolet radiation exposure are not worth the short-lived darkened skin. The age restrictions for tanning salons should be raised because minors and young adults are at a higher risk for getting cancer, pre-mature skin aging, or other health problems when they are overexposed to ultraviolet radiation. In reality, having darker skin is a superficial thing to worry about. It definitely is not worth getting cancer for.

There are no benefits to man-made ultraviolet radiation and the tanning industry should not be flourishing as much as it is. The entire population would benefit from protecting their skin while preventing themselves from getting skin cancer.

Works Cited “Effects of UV Exposure. ” Stanford Medicine, Web. 27 Oct. 2013. Park, Madison. “Teens Should Be Banned from Tanning Booths, Doctors Say. ” CNN. Cable News Network, 28 Feb. 2011. Web. 27 Oct. 2013. “Radiation Exposure and Cancer. ” Radiation Exposure and Cancer. The American Cancer Society, 29 Mar. 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.

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