Look, kid, you’re young. Should you live to be the average age of a human being, you’ve still got several decades left in the skin you’re wearing. I don’t know many people who want their skin to resemble beef jerky when they’re older, and yet I know plenty of them who ask for that by lying in a tanning bed, AKA a human oven, on a regular basis.
If you step back and think about it, the intentional act of tanning (as in, not when you spend time outside and just happen to get some color as a result) is an incredibly ludicrous endeavor. All the time, we preach about being comfortable with the skin we’re in, and yet we’ll spend hours lying motionless under UV rays just to make our skin a few shades darker. Shouldn’t we instead just appreciate the spectrum of skin tones out there?
Furthermore, tanning is one of the biggest time-wasters. There’s not much you can do while tanning; you have to be still and make sure you’re not using anything that will cause weird tanlines. Basically, your options are to read or listen to music. Why subject yourself to complete boredom for an hour or more if you don’t have to?
You’re also bound to get sweaty, and you’ll probably rub yourself down with sticky tanning oil. It doesn’t make sense that doing nothing would make you that gross afterward. If you want to get sweaty, go to the gym instead. Now that’s a good use of your time.
It’s proven that sun exposure causes early aging, which is why you’ll see many avid tanners with not-so-smooth skin, even at a young age. Think about what happens to just about anything when you bake it: it dries out and shrivels up. Your skin is doing the same thing, except moisturizer isn’t going to save you. You’ll wind up with wrinkles much sooner than you anticipated, which is hardly worth skin a few shades darker now.
But here’s the big reason why college students should forgo tanning: skin cancer. Everyone thinks “It won’t happen to me,” but it can and it does. No one is immune. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “The number of skin cancer cases due to tanning is higher than the number of lung cancer cases due to smoking. ”
What people really need to realize is how silly it is to put yourself in direct risk of cancer just to darken their skin tone for a little while. It is not like the skin-darkening caused by tanning is permanent; you have to constantly upkeep it, wasting time in the tanning bed and exposing yourself to damaging UV rays again and again.
Take it from a girl who’s about as pale as pale gets: it’s not so bad. I just think about how nice and wrinkle-free my skin will be years from now, and that makes it all the better. I certainly haven’t the time or patience for tanning anyway.