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Inside a tanning bed

Sun-Kissed Worth the Risk?

May 21, 2015

There are many opinions when it comes to having golden skin and how to get that perfect shade everyone dreams about. But is being sun-kissed worth the risks that are involved?

The first step in deciding this issue is finding out how a tan works. According to, you get a natural tan by being exposed to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or tanning beds. If you are exposed to these rays, you suffer skin cell damage. After being exposed to these dangerous rays, you are more susceptible to different forms of skin cancer. In the United States, nearly five million people are treated for skin cancer each year. Skin cancer in the most common form of skin cancer in the US.

Why is skin cancer so common? According to, more than one million people go tanning indoors each day. This adds up to nearly 30 million people each year. This causes the majority of the cases of skin cancer, and the World Health Organization has declared that UV rays from the sun and artificial sources a carcinogen. That means that UV rays cause cancer, and been proven to do so.

Photo From: Kaitlyn McCluskey

When people think of how they’re going to get that perfect tan in the off-season, they usually have two options: they could get a spray tan or they could use a tanning bed. How can you tell what is the best option for your skin’s preferences? Here’s a list of pros and cons from

“Pros: Tanning beds can give you a natural looking glow or a full, dark tan depending on what you are looking for; all you need to do is adjust your time and frequency. The need to lay out in the sun for hours is drastically cut down to no more than 20 minutes. Tanning beds are especially nice during the hot Arizona summer! The best part is you do not experience unsightly tan lines!

Cons: Unlike tanning in the sun, a tanning bed does cost money. There is also a chance of having to wait for a bed, especially the higher level beds.

Pros: Unlike tanning in a bed, spray tanning will give you almost instant color; most spray tans will give you color in 24 hours so it is great when you need to be tan fast! Most spray tan machines also offer a range of levels to give you the perfect shade of bronze.

Cons: The main disadvantage to spray tans is the color only lasts for around a week. The color will fade as your skin sheds dead skin cells. It is also difficult to get spray tans during the summer as sweat, chlorine, and salt water can strip the color. The last disadvantage is unevenness. If directions are not followed correctly, then you can end up with an uneven tan especially around fingers, elbows, knees and wrists. They can be easily fixed, but sometimes hard to avoid.”

I really think spray tans are a good idea. They’re safer, and even though they can sometimes be more noticeable, they work a lot better for me. Whenever I use a tanning bed, I usually get burnt and not tan at all.”

— Anonymous

The truth is that getting that perfect tan doesn’t always have to be dangerous. In recent years, we have learned how harmful tanning beds are, and have convinced many people that the tan they desire is not worth the risk of skin cancer. However, many overlook the alternative to UV radiation, which still manages to achieve  that summer glow many want Spray tans. Spray tans don’t come with that risk of skin cancer, and still provide the golden shade people can get from UV rays.

From personal experience, I can say that spray tans are effective, and don’t come with the contract with skin cancer like tanning beds do. There are many options when it comes to spray tans and artificial tans. You can invest in a home spray tanner, which is usually like a can of aerosol spray that you apply yourself. You can also get a bronzer lotion, which is exactly what it sounds like. It is a lotion-based artificial color that you apply just like body lotion. Another option you have is a spray tan from a salon. This is just an airbrush tan. The last option you have is homemade tanning remedies. You can find many different DIY tanning options on Pinterest. All of these artificial tanning methods wear off in a couple of days, depending how often you apply.

The opinion of a student–who wishes to remain anonymous–here at Lake City High School who has tried both tanning beds and spray tans says, “I really think spray tans are a good idea. They’re safer, and even though they can sometimes be more noticeable, they work a lot better for me. Whenever I use a tanning bed, I usually get burnt and not tan at all.”

Spray tans have been proven to be safer than tanning beds and natural tans, but still many people put themselves at risk by continuing to be exposed to excessive UV rays. For most people, the way they tan comes down to their personal preference, and they don’t consider all the risks.

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