TCU Daily Skiff Friday, April 2, 2004
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Faking it
Motivations for tanning include beauty, health

By Sarah Greene

Despite the fact that the risks of indoor tanning, such as skin cancer and leathery skin, are well advertised, an ABC News report found that more than a million people use indoor tanning beds every day.

People have varying motivations for setting foot in a tanning salon. Sarah Johnson, who worked at tanning salons in the Metroplex for two years, said the primary reason is cosmetic.

An advantage of indoor tanning over outdoor tanning is the ability to establish a good base tan. Indoor tanning takes place in a controlled environment, therefore burning is easier to prevent, said Johnson, a senior fashion merchandising major.
Based on interactions with clients, Johnson said cosmetic benefits of indoor tanning include a healthier, thinner and flawless look.

“Tan fat looks better than white fat,” Johnson said.

Polly Manuel, owner of Salon Classique, said people also tan to improve their image and to energize themselves.

“You want to look good and feel good at any age,” Manuel said.

Classique’s clientele age ranges from a 16 year old to a 77 year old, who tans every other day. Manuel said about 80 percent attend TCU.

The indoor tanning craze not only covers the gamut of ages, but also has captured both sexes.

Manuel said 11 percent of her clientele are male, a figure that has remained the same since she opened Classique in 1998.

During her busy season, from January to May, Classique averages 225 clients a day. The slow months, which for Manuel are July and December, she averages 10.

A survey conducted through responses from the top 250 salons nationwide listed the in-season average tans per day in 2003 as 346 and off-season as 132.

But not everyone tans for cosmetic reasons. Indoor tanning also has medical benefits.
The National Mental Health Association defines Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as a mood disorder associated with depression episodes related to seasonal variations of light.

Melatonin, a hormone released from the pineal gland that is thought to produce depression, is manufactured at increased rates in the dark, according to the NMHA Web site. January and February are the most difficult months for SAD suffers.

Exposure to ultraviolet light is a common treatment for SAD. Several college-age women tan at Classique to combat the effects of SAD, Manuel said.

People also tan indoors to treat psoriasis, Manuel said.

Psoriasis is a skin disease that affects more than 4.5 million adults in the United States, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

While there is no treatment, standard treatment for moderate to severe sufferers includes exposing the infected skin to wavelengths of UV light, according to the site.

Exposure to UV rays, natural or artificial, also provides the body with vitamin D.
According to the Indoor Tanning Association, Vitamin D controls abnormal cell growth.

“Sun or UV light is the fuel that permits the body to manufacture the vitamin D it needs,” the association reports.

The UV lamps in tanning beds produce artificial sunlight in order to provide its users with vitamin D.

Most lamps used in the United States are low-pressure sunlamps, which use a combination of UVA and UVB rays, said Joe Schuster of Light Sources, Inc., in an article for the Island Sun Times. The UVB rays stimulate the production of melanin, a brown pigment in the skin that gives it color, while the UVA rays darken the pigment.

In areas where ozone depletion occurs, UVC rays, which are destructive to life, reach the Earth, he said.

“UVC is not emitted to the tanner during an indoor tanning session,” Schuster said.
Manuel said the tanning industry has come a long way in matters of safety and cleanliness since she first began tanning in the early ‘80s.

“I remember thinking God, I don’t even want to take my shoes off, much less my clothes,” Manuel said.

Now, the federal government requires tanning salons to test their sanitizer daily and disinfect their beds between uses. Salons must provide clean, protective eyewear near each bed, Manuel said.

Regardless of the motive, Schuster, Manuel and Johnson all agree: The key to indoor tanning is moderation. .
Tanning Salon
Sarah Chacko/ Photo Editor
The Planet Beach Tanning Salon in the Trinity Commons shopping center is just one of many tanning salons near campus. Reports show that more than a million people use indoor-tanning beds every day.
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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