Nading: Tanning is not a disease



Mackenzie Nading

Too much of a good thing can be bad.

People first become acquainted with this mantra as children, when they finally get the chance to be alone with all of their collected Halloween candy. The opportunity to engage in a smorgasbord of sweets just for themselves is placed in front of them. But this heavenly situation quickly turns sour, usually around the seventh or eighth candy bar, when the nausea sets in. From a young age the lesson becomes quite clear: Good things are to be had in moderation, or bad outcomes are sure to occur.

Now the “too much of a good thing” wisdom applies to much more than just indulging in candy. We are faced with it around almost every corner. Whether it’s over-eating that causes obesity or not being able to put cell phones down for one car trip and they cause an accident. These overindulgences quickly become a problem, disease or addiction in the critical eye of society. The most recent of these social concerns is that tanning in electric beds, particularly among women, is becoming excessive and out of control. It has been labeled as a disease and given the name “tanorexia.”

The concern of excessive tanning grew from a news story about a mother who allegedly allowed her five year old daughter to tan. The rumor was never proven to be true, but the appearance of the mother herself was what sparked the concern with tanning. The woman, quite frankly, looked like a piece of leather. She had an unnatural orange completion, wrinkled skin and dark spots all around her arms and face. It was clear that she has put herself in a tanning bed way too many times.

Speaking as one out of the millions of young women throughout America that do choose to tan, that crazy leather woman is not allowed to speak for all of us.

I choose to tan for multiple reasons, and none of those reasons is to look like an Oompa Loompa. The first is it’s relaxing. Many people that judge those who do tan have never been in a tanning bed. It’s warm and quiet and has the uncanny ability to lull a person to sleep. Another reason is because society tells me, and every other girl, tan is attractive. Now, I don’t mean to sound like a materialistic chick, but I tan so I can fit in and feel good about myself.

Let’s be honest, the media has a huge influence on what people do. Whether it’s the clothes they buy, how they chose to style their hair or what color they try to turn their skin. Most will scoff when someone says they make a life choice just to fit in, but the truth is everyone tries in some way or another, and I, along with many others, feel more attractive and comfortable in society with a tan.

So now that we’re being honest, it’s time to set the record straight: Yes, people tan to fit in, to fall into what society deems as attractive or normal, but most of us also understand that too much tanning can lead to unfortunate outcomes. I will not go to extreme measures in the tanning bed, and I’m sure most other tanning happy girls agree. 

Of course there are legitimate concerns with tanning, the main one being that it creates a higher chance of skin cancer. But I can also get cancer from my cellphone, the natural sun outside and too much McDonalds, and millions of people are exposed to each of those things on a daily basis.

The moral of the story here is tanning, just like Halloween candy, can be enjoyed in moderation. Just because someone has a membership to a tanning salon does not mean that they are going to look like a piece of leather by the time they are 30. The mother mentioned above was, sadly, never taught that too much of a good thing can lead to a devastating outcome, thus she should not be allowed to be the poster child for the effects of tanning. Becoming bronze from an electric bed is nothing to be ashamed of and is in no way, shape or form a disease consuming those who choose to enter a tanning salon.