I know that this post is likely to piss off any of my friends who enjoy tanning. Oh well.
I teach at the local university and enjoy it a great deal. I have wonderful students and I enjoy the interactions. I also enjoy the end of the semester reports. I require that as a group they choose a company to work with. This semester I made them write an annual report for said company. The choices they made were interesting and entertaining.
One group chose The Tanning Bed. The Tanning Bed, as I found out, is a local company with shops in Western New York. They also produce tanning lotions and other tanning accessories. They import walls for booths and sell lights, I believe. What disturbed me is some of the information they are sharing with the public. I understand that as a company you should advertise and promote your business. However, I do believe in truth in advertising and there are some huge inconsistencies I see. I have their comments in italics with my rebuttal following:
-Tanning is safe - come on in and get your daily supply of Vitamin D. Are you god damned kidding me? I, too, have read the recent reports that state that everyone should go out into the sun to increase uptake of Vitamin D. What this statement fails to report is that you should go into the sun (not under lamps that are supposed to mimic the sun) for 10-15 minutes! And you should go into sun in the morning or evening - not when it is at its brightest. Good Lord. Get your head out of your ass.
-Before you go on vacation, come on in and get your base tan so you don't burn. I know more than one person in my group of friends who believes this to be true. It scares me because any light under the tanning lamps is dangerous, no matter your purpose. If you want to prevent burning, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and just reapply it more often than if you weren't in the tropics. No need for a base tan. That is a huge misnomer. But the tanning companies have us believing it and I am distrubed by it. Also - once again - don't go out in the sun when it is the brightest (usually between noon and 2 but that window could increase to 10 and 4). Use good judgement. If you normally burn, a base tan isn't going to save your naked ass.
-Since tanning is so dangerous, slather some of our self-tanning creams all over your naked body or let us spray it on you while you turn like a rotisserie chicken. The tanning companies aren't saying this because, as my students pointed out, the self-tanning products are direct competitors of the tanning salons. Why the salons haven't jumped on the self-tanning bandwagon or the mistic tan monkey business, I don't know. Perhaps that's coming. But - let me comment on these creams and spray on stuff. Admitedly, I have never looked at a bottle so forgive me for stepping outside and commenting. I can only imagine the chemicals and such that are in these creams and sprays. I don't want that slathered on me any more than I want to sit under a heat lamp. I can't believe that in 10 years we won't find out about some horrible side effects like it grows an extra kidney that mutates to eat the rest of your organs. Hey - what price vanity.
-If you want to look good before your next function (wedding, birthday party, romp in the hay), you should come in and tan and/or let us spray you. This bothers me more than any others. In order for us to look good we must be tan? Why? It's the same concept as, you must be Kate Moss thin. I think that my lighthouse beacon of a body is damn sexy and I have proof (thank you J). I also don't look my 35 years. Tanning ages you much the way smoking does (that's a whole separate post). I think it's time we take back beauty. What makes each of us beautiful has little to do with what color our skin is. If I choose to be pale, I am completely comfortable with that. I like it, in fact. I don't need to tan. I don't want to tan.
Some parting words. Why do I get so worked up over tanning and the unethical advertising and marketing practices of tanning salons? Skin cancer runs in my family. I am horribly terrified of one day finding a questionable mole. I have read that skin cancer is on the rise. It is treatable and curable if discovered early enough. But - why don't we try to reduce some of its risk factors - like tanning? Tanning is dangerous no matter how you look at it. I don't find it particularly attractive. Have you seen some of these people who tan? I have weathered leather jackets that look better. Hell, my ass on a bad acne day, looks better (more of a visual than you needed).
Something else disturbing. I remember oh so many years ago when we started sueing big tobacco companies. I thought, and still do think, it is crazy. We need to take responsibility for our own actions (This is coming from a former smoker). I understand the risks. I have also heard the other side of the arguments - they didn't warn people 30 or more years ago. To that I say, get your head out of your ass. Does anyone, or did anyone, really think that lighting anything and inhaling smoke into your lungs is a good thing? Do you really need a warning? Anyway - I said, this will open the doors to sueing fast food and pringles and such because we are fat. And sure enough, a couple years later people starting doing that. Once again - take responsibility. In ten years will people be sueing tanning salons because they are dying of skin cancer? Perhaps.
I encourage people to, instead of sitting in a tanning bed, lather on some sunscreen (and there are natural sunscreens so you don't have to worry about chemicals) with an SPF of at least 15 - waterproof or sports blend if you are active - and get the hell outside and enjoy the day! Go outside and embrace nature! And do it safely. And then run around in a short skirt and revealing top and revel in your paleness!
For more information on Skin Cancer and other forms of cancer, please visit the American Cancer Society's Web site.
Wild Mountain Organics is working on a natural sunscreen. It may not be ready for a year or so, but we are trying. If you are interested in all natural products, please check out our Website. Further update. Regarding Susan G. Komen. I am not happy with either sandalwood scent so we decided to offer our existing Rose blend polish and lotion. Take a look on the site in the next week or so for information on ordering.