Utah tanning salons not truthful about dangersMay 14th, 2012 | Posted by in Cancer | Prevention | Skin Cancer | Sunscreen | Tanning | Teen
With May being Melanoma awareness month and the fact that the Utah Legislature just passed a law requiring parents to accompany children under 18 to a tanning appointment, it is disconcerting that a recent ABC Channel 4 investigation discovered that local tanning salons are downplaying the damaging effects of their beds. In fact, the investigation revealed that many are actually lying to their customers. This is extremely alarming also since Utah has the highest rate of skin cancer in the country.
During their study and over a period of months, ABC4 investigators heard some of the following comments from tanning salon employees:
“You want a base tan because it will protect you from the sun.”
“It’s going to give you color to protect you from the sun.”
“It’s not going to hurt your skin at all. It’s just like being out in the sun.”
According to the article, these are words which shock cancer survivor MaryAnn Gerber and make her cringe. She was an occasional tanner when at the age of 24 she went to get a mole removed from her face for cosmetic reasons. Within three days she was told the mole was cancerous and that it was melanoma. Since then, she has been an outspoken advocate against tanning salons in Utah. She is seeking to educate the public which often does not realize the dangers of tanning in a salon.
When pressed further, all but one local salon continued to speak deceptively and ignorantly about the tanning services offered by their businesses. One salon in particular continued to be adamant that having a base tan is actually good for your skin and body. The employee said, “You want a base tan especially since the tan will protect you from the sun. It’s the people who tan every day for years that are the people who usually get skin cancer.”
This couldn’t be further from the truth says Doctor Sancy Leachman at the Huntsman Cancer Institute: “Any time you get a tan the cause of that tan is UV light coming in and damaging the cells and damaging the DNA in those cells. This is not a safe practice so claiming that it is, is clearly bias and it is profiteering on the backs of young peoples health.”
An employee at the local salon which seemed to take the possible risks associated with tanning seriously offered great advice when pressed about the investigator’s fair skin and moles, ““If you’re worried about it I would recommend going to see a dermatologist and getting them checked out.”
As the investigation showed, there are some major misconceptions about the dangers of tanning. When only one of many salons can give the public an unbiased and informed answer, then where can Utahns turn to for the truth about skin cancer? Obviously, it is up to the individual to perform their due diligence and educate themselves about the dangers posed by the sun. Some of the helpful resources include: