By Ally Ruchman, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School
We've all heard the stories and seen the articles about the dangers of using tanning beds -- using tanning beds greatly increases the risk of getting melanoma. But we've also seen shows like Jersey Shore, where the cast hits the tanning salon almost daily. The show's stars make tanning seem like the greatest hobby in the world. But there are some hidden facts about tanning that even Snooki doesn't know.
The University of Texas just completed a study where they found that the many tanning bed users released chemicals in their brains found in the brains of addicts after using the tanning bed. This means that tanning is no longer "something to do" for many people, it's now an addiction. This study also provides a reason for why, despite the inherent health risks, tanning salons are still booming. Researchers have linked tanning to behaviors like smoking cigarettes, people know that there are devastating health effects, but continue with the behavior anyway.
Many view tanning as relaxing and calming, a nice way to spend the day while improving one's appearance. But it is much more than that. When tanning goes beyond just a way to improve one's looks, and starts to impact other areas like social activities, it can be classified as an addiction.
So what can be done about this? Your best bet is to not start indoor tanning in the first place. People who have tanned indoors are 75% more likely to develop melanoma. But don't panic. If you have been to a tanning salon, and are worried, just don't go again. The best way to get a tan is to use the self-tanning creams you can find in the drug store. With all of the health risks in mind, indoor tanning is not worth it.
Ally Ruchman is a senior at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School in Rumson, NJ. She loves animals, reading, science, and traveling.