By Lori Bredemeyer, Copy Editor
It’s February and it snowed last week, but my friends are beginning to worry about how they’ll look in their swimsuits.
However, it’s not so much the width of their hips that’s concerning them, but the shade of their skin. It’s time for them to start going to the tanning beds.
I’ve never been one to tan; I go from white as a ghost to red as a lobster in 20 minutes if I’m not wearing SPF 50, so I try to avoid the sun when I can. I’ve never really seen the point in paying to lie in a coffin-like box to toast parts of me that won’t be seen-by anyone.
One Web site, www.skincancer.org, said about 25,000 tanning salons in the United States make $2 billion a year from 28 million tanning Americans. Nine of those tanning salons are listed in the Abilene Area-Wide phonebook.
Tans occur when ultraviolet rays from the sun produce melanin in the epidermis, or the top layer of the skin. Most tanning beds use a mixture of UVA and UVB rays, both of which are harmful to the body.
The American Academy of Dermatology’s Web site says “more than 1.3 million new skin cancer cases are likely to be diagnosed in the U.S. this year.”
Three types of skin cancer can be caused by tanning beds, and melanoma can be fatal: “an estimated 47,700 new cases and 7,700 deaths [are] anticipated this year,” according to the site.
Skincancer.org said the majority of tanners are young women, and the advantages of having a tan now are overshadowed by the dangers and disadvantages of what will happen later.
“The development of photoaging and skin cancer will take years to become apparent in these young tanners, while the perceived social value of a tan is apparent immediately.”
Instead of risking your life and your skin to be brown for a season, go the safe and easy route and buy the bronzer.