The Fake Bake

By Jennifer Schoffer
Westgate CVI
Thunder Bay, ON

It all started in the 1900's when being as pale as possible was desirable. If you were someone who was tanned in those days it meant that you spent time outside doing manual labor, like farming. Only the wealthy could afford to have people do that work for them, so the paler you were the richer you seemed. This all changed suddenly when a famous designer went to the French Riviera with a deep tan who unknowingly started the biggest fashion craze ever.


But whoever thought that one of the biggest fashion crazes would turn out to be harmful to your health. There are so many people who would go to the most extreme measures to achieve the perfect golden tan that they don't realize the long term affects it can have. Many studies and tests have proven that too much exposure under the sun can cause many forms of skin cancers, problems with your eyes, and weakness to your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off diseases.

Many are getting very concerned by this and have begun to be more cautious when they are under the sun. Since tanning outdoors is known to be potentially dangerous, why not move indoors? Artificial tanning has to be safer than outdoor tanning right, wrong! Artificial tanning is not safe and does not protect your skin from burning. The use of tanning beds promotes permanent skin changes like aging, wrinkling and sagging. In many cases more people burn because they do not know their skin type and they tan too frequently or too long. Many of these tanning salons still continue to promote themselves as safe because they use Ultraviolet A light sources. Yet these so-called safer lamps emit two to three times the amount of UVA that reaches the earth outdoors. UVA rays have a suspected link to malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer and like UVB rays, they also may be linked to immune system damage. The average 15-30 minute visit to a tanning salon equates to an entire day at the beach.

If you are going to continue attending artificial tanning beds begin with short sessions, protect your eyes with approved eye goggles and find out your skin type. These suggestions will help reduce some of the risks associated with artificial tanning.