Tanning: Colleges' Newest Dangerous Addiction

By Lucy Infeld on October 30, 2012

In college, you will hear about all sorts of problems that students are faced with throughout their four years. A lot of these involve unhealthy habits that become addictive over time. Drinking, eating badly, doing drugs, skipping classes… all of these are common issues that most college students will face at one time or another while studying. One habit that many college students get overly involved in, though, is one that few people hear about: tanning.

Everyone jokes about the overly tan girls (and even guys) you see on campus with that telltale orange glow in the dead of winter. People will crack jokes about the excess amount of makeup or self-tanner these individuals must wear, but with the prevalence of tanning salons on college campuses, there is a much more dangerous truth behind these tans.

Within the outskirts of Ohio State’s campus there are more than ten tanning salons. With these establishments so close to campus and often publishing coupons (as well as special student deals) in Ohio State sponsored magazines and newspapers, students can easily become addicted to this deadly habit.

Everyone has heard of the risks of skin cancer associated with use of tanning beds, but tanning can also increase skin aging, increase the appearance of wrinkles, mutate DNA, and lower the body’s immune system response. Apart from this, use of tanning beds triples the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. These risks are even higher for people under the age of thirty who use tanning beds. In fact, women who use tanning beds in their 20s have a 150% increased risk of developing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer than similar women who do not use tanning beds.

So next time the winters are getting you down, or you just feel like you need a glow to look better, try an alternative. While self-tanners can be viewed as less realistic, they are cheap and safe. If you are looking for a serious glow, do not underestimate a spray tan. Most tanning salons also offer spray tan services, whether by machine or individual airbrushing that give the desired tan, and in the case of air brushing, can even have an extra slimming effect.

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