Why risk dying to be tan? This is one question many dermatologists are trying to figure out and despite their efforts in campaigning about the risks involved with indoor tanning, young female adults ages 15-29 are flocking to the salons here in the United States. The obsession with being tan is not a new phenomenon here in the U.S. and the fascination could have everything to do with how celebrities are praised in our society for their beautiful, flawless, bronze skin. Young adults are tanning so much that the word tanorexic is now being used to describe an unhealthy condition. Tanorexic people are like those who suffer from the eating disorder anorexia. Anorexia is a disorder in which one is not happy with their weight no matter how much they lose and those who suffer from tanorexia are never satisfied with their skin complexion so they tan more. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, Melanoma is the worse form of skin cancer and is the most common for adults ages 25-29 and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents 15-29 years old. These statistics are no surprise to The World Health Organization because the sunbeds people use are artificial tanning devices that emit a great deal of ultraviolet radiation (UV) very harmful to the skin. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that skin cancer is the seventh most common cancer in women and there are expectations for this number to increase because young adults are ignoring proper tanning procedures and symptoms of skin cancer. Despite the danger to one’s health, tanning is becoming prevalent across the Atlantic which worries The World Health Organization who considers tanning to be carcinogenic and an international problem on the rise.
In Germany, 144,000 people contract skin cancer every year and 20,000 have the most serious form. According to the environment ministry, these numbers are rising because of the increasing amount of Germans who like to go tanning but why? According to COSMOS, a study conducted at Southern Germany’s Stuttgart Media University found that out of 900 tanning bed visitors, 84% said that lightly tanned skin makes them look healthier and 90% said it makes them feel alive. In 2008, 2,500 people died of melanoma in Germany of the 17,800 cases reported. These numbers are fairly good compared to the United States where melanoma accounts for almost 9,000 deaths of year and over 1.7 billion dollars in treatment a year.
With all of these statistics, I am not sure why people are not following the proper procedures in regards to indoor tanning and why indoor tanning is on a rise. There are so many other ways to get bronze skin such as creams and spray tans but people refrain from these alternatives. The question is when will people recognize the dangers in indoor tanning and how will the Center for Disease Control and Prevention try to limit the usage of tanning salons? Should they intervene? Will a tax decrease the trend?