Tanning Trend: Students discuss concerns, motivations regarding tanning


Danielle Williams, Entertainment Editor

Craving a bronzed skin tone.
Soaking up the ultraviolet rays.
Relaxing in a warm enclosed tanning bed.
Raising your risk for skin cancer?
Many Blue Valley students who crave a bronzed skin tone turn to the method of tanning beds.
Though they pose various health risks, it is a part of many BV students’ weekly routine during the winter months.
Junior Brooke Zimmerman tans at least two or three times a week.
“I started tanning freshman year in the winter because I started getting really pale, and I hate being pale,” she said.
Senior Ashleigh Bryson said she is a fan of tanning beds, and she goes twice a week.
“I started tanning in eighth grade, just before spring break, so that I wouldn’t burn horribly,” she said.
Spray tans are another option for students desiring that sun-kissed look, but Bryson and Zimmerman said they prefer tanning beds.
“Spray tans have a lot of disadvantages,” Bryson said. “They can make people look unnatural, they stain clothes, and you have to wait eight hours before you can shower. It’s just too difficult.”
Zimmerman said she understands the risks that go along with tanning, but that hasn’t stopped her from going to the tanning salon.
“I’m not really afraid of the risks, but I am cautious of what it could do to me,” Zimmerman said.
Bryson said the possible risks worry her, but, unlike a lot of other athletes or students, she’s not in the sun for extensive amounts of time.
“Typically, in the summer, I’m too busy to lay out or go to the pool, and natural rays are just as harmful,” she said. “Yes, I’m scared, but I think that a lot of other people are in the same amount of danger.”
Bryson goes to Solarium and pays $20 a month while Zimmerman goes to The TAN Company and pays $25 a month.
Bryson said her parents think tanning is important to keep you from burning, but not for cosmetic purposes.
“My parents encourage me to tan before we go on vacation for burning purposes,” she said. “As for the rest of the year, they just tolerate it.”
Zimmerman said a lot of other BV students tan for various reasons.
“Students tan because of the winter and people begin to lose their color, also because of dances,” she said.
Tanning salons are required to explain to their customers the detrimental risks that tanning beds have.
However, a report for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce showed that tanning salons continuously do not provide accurate information of the risks to teens who come in.
Bryson said if she was forced to stop tanning she could probably do it.
“It wouldn’t kill me if I didn’t tan, but I don’t plan on stopping,” she said.
Sophomore Abby Lindmark said she is against tanning of all sorts.
“I think people use [tanning beds] because they feel like they need to be tan to look better,” she said. “I think it’s wrong because you should be fine with what you naturally look like.”
Lindmark has never used beds and rarely lays out in the sun during the summer.
“I think it’s stupid,” she said. “It can harm my skin and give me skin cancer.”
Lindmark said the risks are extremely high and people shouldn’t tan for cosmetic purposes.
“Don’t get a tan to make yourself look better,” she said. “You will regret it later.”
Mike Bruggeman, a sales consultant at The TAN Company, began tanning when he was sixteen, and has been hooked ever since.
“I heard it releases endorphins in your body which makes you in a better mood,” Bruggeman said. “Also I just feel better when I’m tan.”
Bruggeman said he usually sees at least 20 to 30 high schoolers come into the salon a day.
“Usually high schoolers come in anywhere from two to four times a week,” he said. “You do get the ones that tan a little more often than others but I think everyone tans in moderation.”
Bruggeman said he recommends tanning to high schoolers.
“It’s just kind of a confidence boost,” he said, “and everyone likes to be tan.”
The TAN Company has customers sign a waiver before using the beds.
“We have a release form which consists of stating that you will wear eyewear,” Bruggeman said. “It’s not recommended — it’s a law.”
Bruggeman said he thinks tanning is safe as long as you do so in moderation. He recommends coming in two to three times a week.
“Too much of anything is not good,” he said. “Make sure you use the lotion we are selling at the salon and eye wear.”