Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Tannest One of All?

So you think limitations on obtaining a “natural” tan are un-fair?  A government bill just may leave Snow White in the dark.

Nothing looks better than a natural glow,  but how far would you go to score a “natural” tan? It has always been my experience that naturally tanned individuals seek ways to obtain that “fairest-in-the-land” complexion through skin lightening products. However, many porcelain-skinned Snow Whites are taking health risks and exposing themselves to powerful UV radiation through the use of tanning beds in order to achieve the perfect tan.

It’s no doubt that UV radiation from tanning beds is not the healthiest thing for the skin. But should government   regulations be set on limiting its use by the general public? Earlier this year, the Tanning Bed Cancer Control Act was introduced to the House of Representatives by US Reps Carolyn Maloney and Charlie Dent. According to the bill, sunless tanning will be recognized as medical devices,  and new standards of use will be passed.

The aims of this bill are :

1. The government would re-examine the classification of tanning beds so that it accurately reflects its risks.  Currently, Tanning beds are Class I medical devices,  which means that they are described as posing “minimal potential harm to its users.”  Minimal? Potential development of skin cancer sounds like a huge health risk to me!

2. Re-evaluation of performance standard whereby the strength of UV emission and times would be restricted, for the interests of consumer health.

Why Snow White should skip the tanning salon. We all know the dangers of UV damage,  especially in the evidenced cause of non melanoma skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) .  The World Health Organization has confirmed UV damage from regular use of tanning beds have contributed greatly to skin cancer cases.  In July 2009, WHO has stated that tanning beds “are carcinogenic to humans,” placing it alongside toxic players such as asbestos, uranium, and tobacco as leading and definite causes of cancer.   Passage of this bill could, in turn,   affect future potency settings of tanning beds by decreasing UV emission, as well as decreasing tanning treatment times. It may also go as far as proposing parental restrictions, and limitations on the number of tanning sessions each individual receives.

To tan or not to tan? People need to understand the importance of safety precautions when opting for such treatments.  It’s not to say that the government has the right to deter people’s personal choice,  however many are still unaware about the facts regarding the potency of UV damage and its link to the development of skin and eye cancer.

Tanning bed proponents argue that “most” people go to tanning salons less than 20 times yearly,  and that “responsible use” of tanning beds has no proven link to the development of skin cancer. Responsible or not, according to the American Academy of Dermatology disagrees. The AAD asserts that more and more people under the age of 40 are being diagnosed with skin cancer,  and research greatly parallels the fact that an increasing number of people (particularly women) who tan regularly at tanning salons are at an all-time high than in past years. A study conducted in Olmstead County, Minnesota concluded that in the years between 1976 and 2003, the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer in people under age 40 increased significantly. These facts, although separate,  are too interrelated to ignore as just mere coincidences.

Excessive UV radiation,  be it from the sun or a tanning bed,  is not healthy. The best bet to get summer color all year-round without risking damage to your skin and health is to apply adequate SPF protection and fake it through a good self-tanner.

What do you think about government limitations on tanning?

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Online Editor, Beauty Writer at Beauty-Goodies
As a New York City-based registered nurse with backgrounds in pharmacology, medical research, medical spa aesthetics, and cosmetic dermatology, Cristal became interested in the ways people go about achieving beauty. When she's not working full-time at Cornell Medical Center or performing aesthetic treatments at a midtown NYC medical spa, she daylights as a beauty writer, and has a penchant for scoring sample sale treasures, bellydancing, playing dress-up, and of course, chatting about beauty goodies.

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54 thoughts on “Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Tannest One of All?

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