By Ksenia Stsepyetkina
Cases of melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of cancer, have doubled in women ages 18-39 since 1970. Recent research has linked a possible cause of this spike in numbers to be the new tanning culture. Indoor tanning was introduced to the states in the 1970’s, at the same time that skin cancer rates started to multiply.
“I know tanning is not the healthiest thing to do and I am sure people are making a mistake ignoring all the links between sun tanning and skin cancer,” said Melissa Saba who is a junior at SPC. “But as bad as it may sound, i don’t like to dwell on the negative of things.”
Saba tans up to three times a week and has been using indoor tanning salons since her senior year of high school. Having friends who tan daily or two times a day, Saba does not feel her tanning habit is dangerous enough to put her at risk.
“I have an even greater risk of walking out my door and getting hit by a car, getting kidnapped and raped, or even getting killed in a drive by shooting before dying of skin cancer.” said Saba.
It seems many young people have Saba’s attitude towards research findings reguarding melanoma.To students like Tiffany Hansen it is just one more thing to worry about in a world where everything is considered ‘bad’ for your health. When hearing news of frying pans, waterbottles, cell phones, and even microwaves causing cancer, it can become hard to take any new claim seriously.
Hansen, a sophomore at SPC, started tanning her freshman year of high school because she said she hates being pale. The desire for a golden glow seems to be strong enough for young women like Saba and Hansen to disreguard the health risks it can cause.
When researching tanning and its side effects, the internet can be confusing. While some sites warn of rising skin cancer rates, websites like the Indoor Tanning Association provides data that support tanning. The ITA, a group that represents indoor tanning manufacturers, distributors and business owners, features articles and press releases that claim a vitamin D deficiency can be deadly and that vitamin D supplements are not enough to prevent the risks. Other sites like NaturalNews.com host articles that support the Vitamin D claim and add that toxins in SPF lotions can increase the risk of skin cancer.
“People need to learn to tan in natural sunlight and use sunblock no matter what,” said Molly DeLancey, a senior at SPC. DeLancey is a beach town native and loves spending time out in the sun. However, she is aware of the dangers of excessive sun exposure and is realistic about the risks. “Anyone can get skin cancer,” said Delancey.
Over the past thirty years the public has learned to ignore basic sun precautions, like hiding your skin from excessive exposure, or trying to avoid sunburn because it can cause permanent damage to your skin.
“Tanning is a culture. It is a lifestyle,” said Michelle Chalen a junior. Being naturally tan Chalen does not worry too much about going tanning. However, as an outsider looking in she has noticed that people who do like to tan, do not care what it takes to become tan.
“I personally don’t think that a tan is necessary for a girl to be attractive,” said Jose Gomez a junior. As a male looking into the female tanning culture Gomez offers a fresh perspective. To Gomez, a tan is not a measurement of beauty and should not be something to get carried away with.
“If I were interested in someone, they would not be a walking carrot.” said Gomez.
But despite the risk and warnings from scientists, many young women and men say they will continue to tan.
“I think people know the risks and choose to ignore them,” said Chalen.