The Obsession with Tanning

I’ve decided to go in a little bit of a different direction with this week’s fashion post. Over the past five years or so, I’ve noticed more people who have an obsession with tanning/being tan. When I was younger, I’d see people on TV with orange skin and my parents would tell me they’re orange because they go tanning, i.e. they tan in tanning beds. I never understood why people did that. However, when I was in 11th grade in the months leading up to my junior prom, I realized why people went tanning. I’m Irish, English, and German, so I have very pale skin and don’t tan easily; generally, I burn pretty bad, but I wanted to be tan so I didn’t blend into my cream-colored, satin dress. I begged my mom to take me to the local tanning salon, Eternal Sun, but she refused and said tanning was so bad for you. To my annoyance, I used a smelly lotion that was supposed to make me tan, but turned my skin orange and splotchy instead.

When I came to college at Bloomsburg, there was this new phenomenon… quarter tanning! For every quarter you inserted, you received two minutes of tanning. That was it. During the winter months, I would go tanning 3-4 times a week and thought nothing of it. I looked tan and beautiful! This went on over the next three years at school.

Now, as a senior at Bloom, I go tanning occasionally. A few weeks ago, I started going tanning every day because I was unsightly pale, at least so I thought. I didn’t go at all last week, but started again on Sunday because I have a wedding this upcoming Saturday. After my ten minute tanning session on Sunday, I felt an itchy bump on my back. I asked my friend to look at it and she said it looked pretty sketchy. I need to go to the dermatologist and get it looked at. My mother warned me, but I didn’t listen. I’m hoping that it’s nothing serious, but when you expose your skin to such harmful UV rays over an extended period of time, you’re at risk for getting skin cancer.

For more information regarding tanning, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. Being tan may be a current fashion trend, but having skin cancer will never be “in”.

***Video courtesy of Melanoma Foundation of New England***

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