A Tan to Die For / Teens continue to tan despite risks

Destiny Amig, Entertainment Editor

The US Department of Health & Human services declared that ultraviolet radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, to be a known carcinogen. This isn’t news to most, but you would be surprised how many people choose to tan anyway.

“I love feeling tan,” junior Emmy Westfall said.”Being darker just makes me feel more confident.”  

For too many teens the dangers of artificial tanning is relevant but not pressing enough to make them not want to.

“I know it’s somewhat bad for your health, but I don’t care,” said senior Camri Thomas. “As long as you don’t tan everyday until you’re 30 you’ll be fine.”

Another thing many people don’t realize is even one indoor tanning session can increase users’ risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent, squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists

“Tanning beds never interested me,” said community member Rita Kambach. “I saw how poorly my Mom aged and I think tanning played a big role.”

With events like prom, graduation, and class night coming up many feel pressured to look their bronzed and best.  

“With Prom coming so soon, I’ve been going every week to get my base tan,” sophomore Karisma Thompson said.

Researchers estimate that indoor tanning may cause upwards of 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year, according to the ADD. The risk only increases with time.

“My mom and I both tan a lot,” junior Hannah Sweet said. “We pay $199 for a year of access to the lowest level bed since a single visit is $9.”

Many tanning beds are open late so they appeal to more customers’ schedules.

“If I have work we just go when I get off because our salon stay open until 11 p.m..” senior Jordan Flener said. “I’ve been tanning for about half a year. It’s just become a part of my life now.”

There are lots of alternatives to tanning beds: tanning lotion, spray tans, and tan towels just to name a few. It’s up to the individual to decide if the risks are worth the reward.