Spring break may be months away, but countless students look as though they have just returned from Cancun.
Coco Chanel was onto something when she decreed the tan a fashionable look in the 1920s. Over eighty years later, tanning is more “fashionable” than ever before. Twenty-eight million Americans annually tan in an estimated 25,000 salons, and SDSU students appear to be keeping up with the trend.
Kelsey Brandrite, an employee at Year Round Brown in Brookings, says, “We see mostly college students tanning here but also some older people.”
A gorgeous tan, which used to be reserved solely for the sunnier summer months, seems now to be a year-round essential for people of all ages. The prospect of donning a dress for the upcoming formal sends some to the tanning salons while others are tanning simply because they enjoy doing so.
“Tanning is relaxing, and I think I look healthier after I have a slight tan,” says Tanya Merritt, a freshman animal science/pre-vet major.
Besides the golden glow and relaxation attainedfrom tanning, there are other benefits. Before a trip to a sunnier climate, vacationers often get a base tan at the salon to reduce the risk of burning in the intense sun. Tanning also helps some people control their acne by clearing out their pores.
Of course, there are dangers to tanning as well as benefits. According to www.skincancer.org, UV radiation, such as that emitted from the lights in indoor tanning beds, is the cause of three common types of skin cancer-basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Burning heightens the risk of skin cancer, which often occurs when inexperienced people use indoor tanning beds. Very fair-skinned people often cannot tan, only burn, and bring out freckles with each attempt. Without the proper eyewear, you can burn your eyes, potentially causing blurred eyesight or blindness. Tanning often also leads to wrinkled, leathery skin later in life.
Even with knowledge of the dangers, some believe the benefits of tanning outweigh the potential dangers.
“If you tan a moderate amount of time and slowly increase your time, you should be just fine,” says Shelly Stueber, who works at the Carousel tanning salon and is a junior ag business major.
Stueber also recommends using tanning lotion, which helps you to tan faster and retain your tan 60 percent longer.
“Tanning lotions are effective because they moisturize your skin. When you moisturize, you don’t lose that top layer of tanned skin, so you can keep your tan for longer,” she says.
For those who don’t want UV exposure but still want the bronze look, there are safer self-tanners and spray machines, such as the Magic Tan at Year Round Brown. The Magic Tan is convenient, taking only one minute to do, but it only lasts four to seven days, so frequent trips are needed to keep your tan looking its best.
Another bronze alternative is self-tanner sprays and lotions that can be found wherever beauty products are sold. You need to reapply these sprays and lotions often to keep a good-looking tan.
You have many options if you do decide to be tan. With many great deals at salons where professionals can help you, getting that bronzed summer look early can be easy -whether you hit the bed or not.