23 September 2015

Tanning Salon Rants

It was a month before prom.
I had a dress.
I had friends to go with.
I did not, however, have a tan.

I am of Scottish and general European decent, so I will probably never have a deep, natural tan. All of the other girls my age were going to the local (only) tanning salon in our small town and coming out Brazilian goddesses. Of course I wanted to look like them. The more salon services they seemed to have, the more “together” they seemed to be. After begging my mom and probably guilting her into this, I bought my first tanning session.

Since it was my first time, I laid silently in the tanning bed for 7 minutes. I loved it. It was quiet, I was becoming a Brazilian goddesses, and it was just warm enough for a nap. This was something girls my age just did. When you turned 16, you abandoned your natural skin tone, lathered yourself up in coco butter infused lotions and baked.

After maybe eight sessions over a year, I decided that tanning was a stupid waste of money. When I was a sophomore in college I had to visit a dermatologist, because of two rapidly growing, dark moles on my back. The dermatologist did not like how they looked and immediately removed them from my back. It was so scary waiting for those results to come back.

Often when moles turn out to be cancerous they don’t just remove the mole. Doctors have to take large grafts of skin off, to ensure that they “got everything.” The results for my moles came back benign and since then I pledged to never tan. Not in a tanning bed, not at the beach, never. I have an overwhelming amount of guilt if I get a sunburn on accident. It does not happen often. I also see a dermatologist every year for a full body mole/ skin cancer check. Even my scalp gets a thorough look over!

So, my main question for the general population is:

Why are tanning salons still busy?!

It has been clinically proven that tanning beds can lead to skin cancer. Being in the sun can give you cancer. Just being "around" can give you skin cancer. With your skin being such a precious commodity (holding your body together, regulating temperature, etc) why, oh, why would you get in a tanning bed? The sun is enough to deal with! Skin is something to take care of! I have seen first hand what melanoma can do to someone. It is terrible, heartbreaking and one of the worst things in the world. I feel confident saying I hate it.

I think that tanning salons should be required to post medical information/health warnings on tanning beds about moles and skin cancer, similar to how cigarettes have health warnings on the box.

If you are ever questioning whether or not to go tanning- just call me up, email me, drop by my house, invite me over and I will tell you why you shouldn't and make you cry. TRY ME. You will not go to that tanning appointment.

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