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On Tanning Beds

Tanning beds and those that use them have been receiving quite a bit of media attention as of late.

Perhaps you recognize this familiar face? In case you’re wondering, I am referring to the older woman on the left (well, just in case you were wondering…). This is no longer the case of a woman who wants a little bit of colour, this is the case of a woman with serious mental health issues. The reason she has received so much media attention isn’t because the general public is concerned about her welfare, but her daughter’s as she was accused of taking her daughter to a tanning salon. Her daughter is 6. Of course, she is denying the charges, but further investigation is being carried out.

Last week I listened to a segment on CBC about tanning. If you missed the segment, there’s an article that basically covers what was discussed in the on-air segment. What surprised me most was that many parents introduce their teen to tanning beds. I cannot imagine my mother ever encouraging such behaviour.

According to research by the Canadian Cancer Society (either performed by or funded by), there is a 75% increase in risk for those under 35 years of age for melanoma from exposure to indoor tanning equipment. I assume you know this. If you don’t, you do now. Tanning beds are cancer boxes. Don’t use them. Ever.

I guess one could liken tanning to cigarettes. We, the general public, understand the risks but continue to engage in the behaviour anyways. I’ve heard from those who use tanning beds and read in a number of articles that tanning can be addictive. Anything can become addictive if it creates a pleasure response in your brain . I guess for some, tanning, at least at the outset, causes a cascade of neurotransmitters and chemicals to be released in the nucleus accumbens (i.e. the pleasure centre) and from that moment, some are hooked. Scary.

My advice is pretty simple. Don’t tan. Wear sun screen – always. If you need further proof please take another look at the “roasted nut” (first link in the post), read the article on CBC, and then read the 5 facts on tanning.

M

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