April 13, 2013
English 2100; 5:00
The Pressures/ Harmful Effects of Tanning and Skin Cancer
When I was growing up my mom had always stressed wearing sunscreen, and frowned upon the use of tanning beds. She has always made sure we were very conscious about protecting our skin. Coming from her experience of having skin cancer, and a close friend losing her dad to skin cancer, I have always had an interest in this subject. Today in our current culture, there is a strong urge and pressure for people to be tan. With my topic being the pressures and harmful effects of tanning and skin cancer, I wanted to know if people were educated on the topic, and if they knew how to protect themselves from the sun’s damaging rays.
Brief Result I learned that too many people are obsessed with tanning, and are not focused on the damages it can do to the body. People are self-centered and are more interested in self-image and being tan. Individuals should not worry about the personal image of being pale, especially since tanning can have effects such as skin damage, premature aging, and even the most extreme effect, skin cancer.
“Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States” (Skin Cancer Facts). Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, while there are two other types of non-melanoma cancer that are less serious. Non-melanoma types of cancer can be treated and cured if found early, and are not likely to spread to other parts of the body. With skin cancer being the most common type of cancer, there are many risk factors such as: unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, pale complexion, occupational exposures, genetics, sun damage, or unusual moles. With regular visits to the dermatologist you can be checked for the many types of skin cancer. Some symptoms are skin discoloration, the changing of moles, or the spread of pigmentation beyond its border. “Indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.” (Tanning). There are also many ways to protect yourself, and it is always good to be cautious (Skin Cancer Facts).
I collected my data by taking a survey of eight girls to see how many regularly attend a tanning bed. I asked their opinions on how informed they were on harmful effects of UV rays. My survey took place in the Appalachian PanHellenic Hall, which is the sorority dormitory on campus at Appalachian State University in Boone NC. My survey was conducted on only girls, seeing as they are most tanning salon’s population of business. I chose many different girls with a variety of personalities and opinions so I would have a wide range of research.
I got a variety of responses to my survey. Four people do feel the need to tan and go to the tanning salon, and one subject spent up to $100 there in one month. (Survey). Most said it is embarrassing to be seen as pale around their peers. Many people enjoy lying in tanning beds, and find the warmth to be very soothing and relaxing. Also numerous people chose to look past the harmful effects of the UV Rays in the beds, and said that being tan was worth the risk. When I asked if any one had ever been to a dermatologist to have their skin checked for suspicious looking marks or sun damage four people said no, and that they never thought of it. According to my observations, in six out of the seven surveys conducted, girls said they actually have thought of the consequences of artificially tanning. But only three out of those seven girls have actually thought about/been to a dermatologist to have their skin examined. Girls answered that they love being tan, and that they tan regularly. However, there were only four girls that were against it.
Analysis/ Discussion I am slightly biased on tanning, and I personally would never use a tanning bed. Everyone loves to be