To continue with this week's health theme (I guess) I was reading about tanning this week. There has been ongoing pressure to prohibit the use of tanning beds for people under 18 years of age due to the link between tanning and skin cancer. Right now, if you live in New Brunswick and you are under 18, you can't use a tanning bed, but there aren't any rules in the rest of Canada (although I think some tanning places ask that your parents sign something if you are younger).
More recently, younger people are being urged not to tan. Apparently, the use of tanning beds (and other tanning "devices") before the age of 30 is associated with a 75% increase in the occurrence of skin cancer. 75%! That's a lot... Obviously, tanning at any age is associated with skin damage such as spots, wrinkles and cancer, but I think it is important for younger people to realize that they aren't invincible and that their actions can have huge consequences in the future.
I've been tanning just a few times. I can't remember when I went for the first time, but I went with my sister and I went to get a little colour. I don't even really know why. I remember really liking the warmth of the tanning bed, being a little skeeved at what might be on the surfaces, and kind of weirded out by the skin colour of the employees. The second stint I had tanning was right before my wedding. We got married in February and I wanted my skin colour to be a little less translucent than it usually is in the cold Canadian winter.
I was tanning because I thought I "looked better with a tan". And you know what- I still kind of think that. A little sun damage evens out my skin tone, makes me glow a little (although that is probably just because I'm happier when I get to be outside in the sun), and I like the way colours look on me more. Even though I think that, I really do try to protect myself as much as possible from the sun and I have vowed never to set foot (or skin) in a tanning bed again. Even though the president of Fabutan insists that the correlation between tanning and skin cancer does not imply causation (and he's right, statistically a correlation and a causation are very different) it is a risk I'm just not willing to take. Just to get cheeky with his example- he says that drowning is correlated with swimming, but obviously swimming doesn't cause drowning. In the case of tanning- I figure if I don't get in the water, I won't drown.
What do you think? Do you use tanning beds? Do you think look better with a tan? Do you take measures to try to protect your skin?