Today’s college students need to add Indoor Tanning 101 to their course selections. While these kids have grown up with the warnings about sun exposure, and tend to be very informed on the potential for skin damage and even skin cancer, they continue to take unnecessary risks with UV exposure. The use of indoor tanning facilities, by college students, is on the rise in the U.S.
Trading off time in the sun, for time in a tanning bed, is a growing trend. While the dangers associated with UV rays from tanning beds is common knowledge, young adults – especially college age students – are showing a tendency to rationalize these risks away. Over 40% of college students reportedly use tanning beds, even though they are aware of the potential skin problems.
A new study by researchers at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City reported that today’s college age students, age 18-24, were apt to ignore the warnings about the use of tanning salons and convince themselves that they were not partaking in risky behavior. Although any UV exposure can be detrimental to the skin, about 48% of the students polled believed they didn’t use tanning salons enough to put their health at risk.
The main reason for this startling trend is simple; young people reportedly just want to look more attractive. Some of the participating students surveyed were quoted as saying, “everything causes cancer these days” and “tanning beds are no more risky than lots of other things people do” and “it’s dangerous (just) to walk across the street”. As young adults, many of whom are freshly out of their teens, the pressure to look good overshadows any health hazards.
Risks from tanning beds are nothing to take lightly. Exposure to the UV rays from indoor tanning is shown to be as dangerous as those from the sun. More than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed every year; one person dies of Melanoma every hour in the U.S. Parents, physicians, and educators, need to continually remind kids, no matter what their age, about the risks of indoor tanning.