It’s below freezing outside and college girls trounce to class in their Uggs and mittens, take off their Northface jackets, and reveal beautifully bronzed skin. Welcome to December in Minnesota…wait whaaat?!
They’re not fooling anyone. There’s no way that golden glow stuck around from the burning rays of Minnesota summer sunlight or that 5-day trip to Florida over Thanksgiving break. Those tan lines were sure to have faded by now. But thanks to the indoor tanning beds, Minnesotan girls (and boys) can stay tan all year long. But is that really a good thing?
Indoor tanning beds were introduced in America in the 1970′s, but the trend exploded in the late 1990′s and into the 2000′s. According to National Tanning Training Institution (NTTI), the tanning bed industry has grown into a viable and socially accepted industry worth more than $5 billion. According to Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) tanning bed services are regulated by the FDA, but health concerns remain an issue.
According to the University of Minnesota’s 2010 study, people who use any kind of tanning bed, for any amount of time are 74% more likely to develop melanoma. The study involved 2,268 Minnesotans and is the biggest study of its kind. Frequent users–defined as people who used indoor tanning for 50 plus hours, more than 100 sessions, or for 10-plus years–of indoor tanning beds are 2.5 to 3 times more likely to develop melanoma than those who never use tanning devices.
Melanoma is one of the fastest increasing cancers across the United States and in Minnesota. About 69,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with melanoma this year; nearly 1,000 of those people will be Minnesotans. Although melanoma accounts for only about 4 percent of all skin cancer, it causes about 79 percent of all deaths from skin cancer. (University of Minnesota Study)
The credible University of Minnesota study has not scared all users away from using indoor tanning beds, but alternative bronzing techniques have become more popular. Higher quality, more affordable spray-tans are also offered at tanning salons. But what will it take for tanning beds to fully go out of style?