Tanning: The bare reality of sun exposure

By Melissa Silverberg

As the days grow shorter and the weather gets colder, students may turn to indoor tanning to warm up and lighten their mood while darkening their skin. While it is difficult to measure how many students tan each year, there are 35 tanning salons within a 5-mile radius of campus.As the days grow shorter and the weather gets colder, students may turn to indoor tanning to warm up and lighten their mood while darkening their skin. While it is difficult to measure how many students tan each year, there are 35 tanning salons within a 5-mile radius of campus.

The Appeal

According to the Indoor Tanning Association, about 10 percent of the American public visits an indoor tanning salon each year.

“I think I look better tan,” said Kristen Klinker, owner of Electric Beach Tanning Salon, 313 E. Green Street, Champaign. “People like to look good.”

Tanning can be relaxing and a way to warm up from the cold weather outside, Klinker said.

She added that people feel differently about themselves when they are tan and that some added skin color can be a confidence boost.

The Effects

While thousands of people go tanning every day, there is a debate over the health benefits or consequences indoor tanning can have on the body.

People who use a tanning bed for the first time before the age of 35 increase their risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

However, Joseph Levy, vice president of the International Smart Tan Network said that the only natural way to produce the amount of vitamin D the body needs is through exposure to the sun’s rays.

The Justification

While both sides argue that they have research and science to back them up, students will have to decide for themselves whether to go tanning or stay pale this winter.

“Everything in moderation,” Klinker said. “Anything in excess is never good for you.”