Promise You’ll Never Ever Go In A Tanning Bed Again

tanning bed cancerTanning beds, like cigarettes, are dangerous and everyone knows it, yet some people still indulge because tans are sexy and because they can. We are constantly hearing statistics about  cancer, yet people still get naked in artificial sun sarcophagi like they’re somehow invincible. Disregarding statistics is understandable because numbers are mostly boring, but personal accounts of horror stories induced by risky choices are far more persuasive. I’ve never been in a tanning bed and I never planned on going in one, but I just read about this woman who developed a rare form of eye cancer from reckless tanning bed use and now I sort of hope those death traps get banned.

After chemotherapy failed, former model Debi Gibson had one of her eyes removed. Unfortunately, eliminating the eye didn’t stop the disease from spreading to her liver. Choroidal melanoma is going to kill her. Gibson probably wouldn’t have developed the cancerous eye growth had she not begun tanning without protective goggles in her mid-teens. She told The Daily Mail,

“I saved up the money myself when I was 14 to buy a sunbed and had it at my parent’s house.

I used it all the time, back then there weren’t any guidelines around, people thought this was the safest way to tan.

I eventually became a personal trainer at a gym and I used to use the sunbed there as well.

They came with goggles, but those left you with ugly tan lines so I didn’t use them, I never thought that would kill me.”

Yes, she should have used the little goggles, but Gibson was just a kid when she started tanning. At the time, the dangers were less clear and she didn’t know better, but people make bad decisions even when they are informed. Today, kids still tan despite some regulations and age restrictions. Now that we know that tanning beds expose people to dangerous amounts of UV rays, why do we still allow businesses to make money selling people cancer?

According to a TSA (The Sunbed Association) spokesperson,

Millions of people use sunbeds safely and responsibly following correct usage guidance, which includes the wearing of protective eyewear.

Therefore, to call for a ban on a product or service when it has been used inappropriately is unfortunately misguided and even more so when self-diagnosis on the cause of a disease has taken place.

Education about responsible use of sunbeds and sunbathing in general is of course very important, which is why we would always recommend anyone using a sunbed does so in a Sunbed Association member salon, where they will receive correct advice and information from properly trained staff.

Typically, I’m all for personal responsibility and letting anyone do whatever dangerous stuff they want without any interference, but I feel differently about sunbeds. They serve no purpose other than to prey on self conscious people who want to conform to oppressive beauty ideals. At best, people waste money potentially getting cancer by tanning– at worst, they lose their eyes and then die.
via The Daily Mail//Image via Aspecticide

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    • Kaitlin Reilly

      What a scary story.
      Lately I’ve been hearing about tanning beds being put in to college dorms — so students can use them for free! Do what you want with your body, but more people need to know about the dangers.

    • Lindsey Conklin

      I am guilty of using the tanning bed before my sisters wedding. ugh. this is scary. ban them!!!!!!! (and cigs too)

    • Robotic Socks

      see, I keep telling you spray tans are better

      • RW

        This photo makes me die a little, inside.

      • JJ

        There so orange I am sure the astronauts in space can see their orange jersey glow from space. Holy crap.

      • Rodiansinger

        But don’t you see, that’s a good thing. When the aliens arrive they’ll take aim at them first cause they’re so much easier to see. The rest of us will have time to delve underground and hole up until our violent anti-vaxxer super viruses wipe them out.

      • Valerie

        Obvi the one on the right is you. I have always taken you for a “3 chains or more” kind of guy.

      • Robotic Socks

        You picture me as a douchebag guido type?

      • Valerie

        Noooooo! Boy, Socks- you don’t read my interwebz humor and teasing very well.
        I picture you as a robot. Wearing socks.

    • jane

      My kids saw a tanning bed the other day and said “what’s that?” I replied “people get in those and give themselves skin cancer.” Hopefully that message gets through.

    • JJ

      I always find it funny how people insist you must use a tanning bed before going away for vacation to the tropics or before any big events like weddings, proms etc because oh no the horror of pale people being photographed or seen in public! I am going away next spring South to a beach resort and so many people are like, “are you going to start tanning? You have to start tanning now or you will burn!”. I think I will skip laying those hot coffin germ beds thanks. It’s possible to go south without using tanning beds first. I even talked to a lot people I know who just got back from those trips and have skin like Casper the ghost like me so its possble to go away and come back still pale. It’s called use sun screen protection and lathering it on all the time all day during the vacation every time you sweat it off even a little or go swimming. Wear hats, sun glasses and beach cover ups to protect your face, shoulders and back from bad burns. Never think its safe to not use sunscreen even in the shady places or partly cloudy days because burns still happen.

      • JennyWren

        For trips it’s totally worth investing in spray sunscreen. I have typically pale, Celtic skin and I burn really easily. I love love love laying out in the sun though, so I just take my spray lotion and reapply whenever I shift position.

    • ChopChick

      I just want to put it out there that people don’t just use tanning beds for vain reasons. I get horrible eczema in the winter all over my arms, upper back, legs, everywhere, sometimes even on my face. It turns into horrible scales that never stop itching and nothing fixes it other than sun. Unfortunately, sun is hard to come by in Boston from October – March so when it get really bad I have to either have unbearably itchy scaly skin which is apt to scab and bleed, or go to a tanning bed 1-2x per month. This is even what dermatologists prescribe to people with really bad eczema. The last time I went was in January but that’s because I got a tropical vacation in mid-March which cured my skin from the horrible-ness that had accumulated.

      It may sound insane to someone without skin problems, but when your skin is molting and you have scaly patches extending to your arms, back and face…

      That said, I do try to go as rarely as possible, and always wear protective eyewear and go for as little time as will make a difference!

    • Garavriel

      Not that I would ever use one anyway, but stuff like that just makes me even more happy that my boyfriend has a thing for pale girls.

    • Melastik Bintang

      Nice sharing from this blog.. Love it!

    • Lcferna

      Tanning beds are banned now in australia because of stuff like this

    • personal

      Oh, that’s horrible. Poor woman.
      Here in Germany it’s very popular to use red (ultraviolet?) lights if you have a cold or sinus infection. Does anyone know if those are dangerous? I use one if I have a sinus infection but am always a bit leary of having so much light right near my (closed) eyes.

    • Jessica

      I loved tanning, but quit last year. I always knew there was a correlation between tanning & cancer, but it seemed so distant. Then my best friend’s father was diagnosed & passed away within 6 weeks. Seeing what she and her family went through was more than enough to make me ever want to get in one again. (Her father wasn’t a tanning bed regular, but worked outdoors most of his life.) My daughter was just over a year old. Imagining her in my best friends place broke my heart all over again.

    • ChooChooChoose

      I’ve had melanoma twice, first one at age 34, second one age 38. I’m certain (and so is my dermatologist) it’s from the tanning bed. No family history, and the only other person to have anything similar in my family is my sister, who also happens to be the only other person in my family to have used tanning beds. I have a young daughter. My mind has envisioned her asking her father why I died, and him having to explain that it was because Mommy wanted to be tan. How stupid is that? And it could still happen.