Amy Siewert on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 12:00:00 am
The season is here — swimsuit, sun and a lawn chair. There are still some of us that worship the sun — myself included — even though we have heard countless times how prolonged, unprotected sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. It’s finally sinking in.
I think seeing the New Jersey woman on TV last week accused of exposing her young daughter to the harmful rays of a tanning bed really hit home. She looked completely unnatural to me.
I heard the term Tanorexia for the first time when the media was discussing the incident and I wondered what that meant.
According to Wikipedia, the slang term Tanorexia is an addiction similar to smoking or alcohol — a little is never enough. People perceive themselves as unacceptably pale and therefore lay out in the sun or in a tanning bed frequently to have a darker complexion.
To verify that information, I spoke with Dr. John Ratz, a dermatologist with Great Lakes Dermatology, who has had sun worshipers among his patients. “There are people out there who can’t get enough tanning,” says Ratz. “All you can do is let them know the truth, but you may not change their minds.”
He hadn’t heard the term Tanorexia himself until last week, but did agree these people are addicted to getting a tan.
Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes to look like a shiny white beacon when they’re wearing shorts and a sleeveless top, but there are other ways to get tan. Check on your store shelf for self-tanning lotions.
Ratz notes to remember the sun screen; reapplying the lotion or spray every couple of hours is essential. He says statistics state that one in 75 people will get melanoma.
The natural sun-kissed glow is not worth it in the long run. Use those hours spent tanning in a more productive manner. Your skin will thank you for it.