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I know being from Southern California, I should be jumping on the tanning bandwagon, but I prefer things pre-Coco, turned tanning into a fashion statement.  From, Hollywood spray tans to tanorexics on Jersey Shore, tanning is definitely considered beautiful nationwide. Sun damage and smoking causes 85% of aging skin.  85%! Thats a huge, the other 15% is from the natural aging process.  Notice that smoking and tanning are equally harmful.  As smoking was once a sign of freedom and gender equality to women, we now know the deadly effects it has and it no longer has that same panache it held.  The industrial revolution, made the working class leave the field and into the factories, causing a pale-faced, classless generation, no longer was being pale a sign of wealth.  Enter, Coco Chanel’s sun worshipping ways, causing the craze, that bronze skin is emblematic of those wealthy enough to spend their days outdoors, sun bathing.  And here we are, the information is out there, we all know the harmful effects of too much sun exposure, we know to apply SPF, but a lot of tanorexics try to get around this to achieve the perfect tan, thinking that going to a tanning salon is the safer option. But tanning salons are often more harmful than good ol sunshine.

Tanning Salon Myths:

Tanning indoors is more dangerous than tanning outdoors.

 One of the most common misconceptions you’ll hear at the tanning salon is that if you’re going to tan, it’s better to do so in a tanning bed than outdoors. Obviously, getting a tan is not safe, but tanning salons lead you to believe that since they can monitor the exact amount that your exposed to is better than being outdoors since the amount of sunshine varies everyday. The exact opposite is true! Tanning indoors is more harmful, since you are getting a much higher concentration and longer wavelengths of UVA, that penetrate deeper into the skin. Studies show that tanorexics who frequent tanning salons are more likely to develop melanoma then those who tan outdoors.

“Tanorexia” is a real disease

Yes, we all joke about tanorexics and they are often caricatured on tv, however tanorexia is a serious matter. A person who is tanorexic, feels as though they are never tan enough and will go to whatever length to achieve the “perfect tan.” Scientist found that those who displayed signs of tanorexia, showed signs of a substance related disorder. Meaning, they were addicted to tanning, as addicts are hooked to drugs and alcohol.

Salons don’t turn “tanorexics” away

A person could come in and tan in a bed every day if they wanted to, that’s why many tanning salons make customers sign waivers and liabilities.

The FDA doesn’t highly regulate tanning beds.

Despite the fact that the ultraviolet radiation emitted during a tanning bed session is a proven human carcinogen, they are not considered major medical devices so are not on the top of FDA’s priority list.

Tanning beds are full of bacteria and viruses.

Think twice before laying your bare body on a tanning bed! Tanning beds definately have the yuck factor, some substances reported to be found on tanning beds are sweat, pee and semen. Ewww!

Besides the harmful effects tanning has to your health, it will also cause more wrinkles and age spots.  There are many great cosmeceutical products out their to diminish hyperpigmentation or reverse the aging effects from a tan.  And for tanorexics, we’ve all seen those leathery looking ladies, not a pretty sight and not much you can do to fix that once one gets to that point.  So, you still want to tan, but want to skip the whole basal cell carcinoma thing – well the only way to get that darker look without damaging your skin is to spray tan.

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