Why People Tan

Essay by badkittie9University, Bachelor'sA, February 2005

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I love my job. That's a bizarre statement that very few people have the opportunity to admit. Working at a tanning salon is like a vacation. Everyone's casual and happy, even the other employees. It's a relaxing environment. And why shouldn't it be? People come in to enjoy a twenty-minute escape to a tropical beach with white sand and the sound of the soft waves hitting the shore. A quick trip to paradise amongst a hectic day. Many female customers have told me that it is their 'time-out'; their distraction from their work, kids, and husband. But one day last summer, one customer revealed to me more much more than that. In the middle of a conversation, she nonchalantly tossed in the fact that she had skin cancer. Yet, she still tanned a few times a week. I never asked why she continued to tan. I didn't feel it was my business.

But it got me wondering. While there are benefits to tanning, they aren't as ferociously reported as the risks. It is clearly stated in the media that exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause skin cancer. So with all the controversy and evidence against, why do people continue to use indoor tanning salons?

I found the bulk of my answer published on the Medical News Today website in an article titled "Research Study Profiles Indoor Tanners". At first, I was a little skeptical of the article. It was based on a survey conducted and commissioned by Michael Stepp, a UV light researcher. However, he is also a CEO of Wolff System Technology, which is the world's leading manufacturer of bulbs for indoor tanning beds (Toor). I feared that the articles might be biased. But my tension ceased when I looked into the creditability of the website. Medical News Today...