I’ve got a another story out on MSNBC.com’s Health channel this morning, this one on a new study that’s discovered that in 116 of America’s largest cities, you’ll usually find more tanning salons than Starbucks or McDonalds.
It’s a little hard to believe, especially considering all the evidence linking skin cancer and UV rays (the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has declared both tanning beds — and the sun — to be known carcinogens), but people still want their golden tans. Or their “double shot” of light, warmth, and relaxation (there are other studies linking indoor tanning with endorphins, which some dermatologists believe contribute to tanning “addictions”).
As someone who used to tan (both in the sun and in the occasional salon) I understand the siren song of the “summer glow.” But as a health writer who’s seen the studies and talked to the sun worshippers now dealing with skin cancer, I know the health risks that tanning presents (you’d better believe I keep an eye on my moles).
Today, I wouldn’t set foot inside a tanning bed, although I’ve definitely used self-tanner and might even consider a spray-tan at some point, especially if it was done by Jimmy Coco, official “spray tanner to the stars” (sorry, but I just had to somehow work that phrase into this post).