BY KEILA MACPHERSON
There’s no doubt that sunny days are what most people look forward to. It means getting outside and getting together with friends and enjoying the golden glow of your skin. What people don’t usually think about is the damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
A tan, or lack thereof, has always shown some sort of social standing in history. In the 1800s, being pale meant you were rich and didn’t have to work outside like a peasant.
Today, thanks to Jersey Shore, a dark tan represents a luxurious life full of partying and free time. No wonder so many young people are itching to get a tan.
What the show doesn’t inform viewers of are the many harmful effects that come from tanning, the most prominent being melanoma, also known as skin cancer.
In April 2012, a bill was proposed in Canada to ban teens under 18 from using indoor tanning beds for cosmetic purposes because they increase the risk of melanoma.
More recently, according to an article on cbc.ca, teens from Quebec travelled to Ottawa to go to tanning salons without parental consent after the Quebec government cracked down on tanning salons, banning minors from using tanning beds.
Quebec passed the law banning minors from indoor tanning in June 2012.
However, province-hopping rebellion isn’t the only issue facing this legislation.
According to an article on therecord.com, there has been an increase in sales of personal-use tanning beds. People are selling them for as low as $300, which is “less than the cost of an unlocked smartphone.”
This means the use of artificial tanning isn’t regulated and can be misused in the home. Most tanning salons, such as the Fabutan chain, have regulations in place so clients don’t overexpose themselves.
“We are a SmartTan certified salon so everybody who works here follows our policies and nobody is allowed to go for longer than their skin type allows. You’re not allowed to go in twice in a 24-hour period, and we recommend 48 hours between,” said Amy Peters, a manager at the salon in Cambridge.
Between tans, especially in the summer, people can still spend time tanning outdoors.
Peters said tanning outdoors is an uncontrolled environment and people should still be applying sunscreen if they are going to be outside all day.
Natalie Jakobowska, a registered nurse at Dr. Takhar’s Cosmetic Clinic in Cambridge, said sunscreen should be applied every day, regardless of the season.
“(The) sun still comes through the clouds, it’s still there during the day,” Jakobowska said.
She suggested that if you’re not applying sunscreen on a regular basis, every 90 minutes, you should be because sun exposure and tanning causes brown spots on your skin over time.
Jakobowska has an important message for everyone who wants to tan, especially young girls.
“Right now you think you look great because you’re tanned, but down the road you’re not going to like how you look because of all the sun damage.”
BY KEILA MACPHERSON