Gym, Tan, Laundry… Minus the Tan

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2B news tanning bedSaskatchewan is only one of three provinces not protecting kids from tanning beds

 Article: Victoria Dinh – Contributor

It’s that time of year again, folks. Winter is just around the corner, so get those parkas and toques out to prepare for that dreaded torrential snowfall. Summer is in the past and along with it is that tan that you’ve been working so hard on. But, wait, isn’t cosmetic tanning the best option for a quick and easy way to get back that long forgotten summer’s glow? The Canadian Cancer Society doesn’t think so. They say, “If at first you don’t get cancer, fry, fry again.”

A few months ago, the Canadian Cancer Society started a petition in Saskatchewan to restrict indoor tanning for youth under 18. Donna Pasiechnik, manager of media and government relations at the Canadian Cancer Society, believes that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

“Saskatchewan is only one of three provinces that is not protecting kids from indoor tanning and potential skin cancer,” Pasiechnik says.

Melanoma is on the rise. It is one of the most common skin cancers among young Saskatchewan women between the ages of 15 and 19. Kendra Morrow, family medicine resident at the Regina General Hospital, advises the public to take care of their skin whether tanning artificially or in natural sun.

Morrow says, “With every burn there’s a significant chance you can develop skin cancer. And with that, if it is melanoma, treatments can be very limited.”

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, indoor tanning has been declared a known carcinogen that causes cancer. When used before the age of 35, it also increases your risk of developing melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, by 59 per cent.

Pasiechnik adds, “In some cases, these tanning beds can emit five to 10 times the radiation of midday sun.”

University of Regina cheerleader, Paige Fischer, says that her teammates are encouraged by their coach to tan for competitions because it creates a more uniform appearance. The team is sponsored by a local tanning salon that offers discounts to the cheerleaders for use of the tanning facilities. However, despite the reduced price, Fischer and some of her teammates prefer to spray tan instead.

“I think it’s definitely a better alternative,” Fischer says, “there’s no adverse skin effects. You can’t get cancer from it or anything. It lasts a couple days and you’ll look more tanned in a shorter amount of time. You’d have to spend months [tanning] to actually look that tanned.”

The Canadian Cancer Society is working hard to get their message out there through their petition. Some tanning salons offer access to healthier alternatives such as spray tanning. Others have even refused services to youth under 18 entirely. However, the Canadian Cancer Society would like to see a change in the tanning culture in Saskatchewan and sway minors from tanning altogether.

 Image: Froztbyte

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