When foreign materials, such as pathologic bacteria or viruses, enter the human body, the immune system reacts. It sends forth white blood cells to destroy the foreign material. With the battle raging between white blood cells (the body’s own soldiers) and the pathogens, the whole body helps by raising its temperature. This is why the person develops a fever. The fever indicates that something is wrong inside the body.

When the skin is wounded, the body again reacts by sending substances towards the wound. These substances help in clotting the blood and preventing haemorrhage. In other words, the human body has a built-in system that is designed to protect itself from potentially harmful situations.

The same built-in system makes the skin produce melanin to protect itself from the ultraviolet radiation. This is one important fact about tanning. The melanin pigments were never produced to aid a person’s desire to have a gorgeous bronze skin. The melanin pigments were produced as a defence mechanism against the damage that will be inflicted by the UV radiation. Simply put, a tan is just like fever. The tan indicates that something was not quite right in the skin.

Thus, if a person often goes to a tanning salon to have a tan, he is just like another person who ignores his fever. Something worse will eventually happen. This is why repetitive tanning treatments accelerate the aging process, damage the eyes, and increase the risk of skin cancer.

There is no such thing as a safe tan. Authorities, such as the Food and Drug Administration, recognize this but they can do nothing against the booming tanning salon industry. The only safety measures they were able to implement include these requirements.

First, every patron of a tanning salon should sign a statement indicating that they are aware of the perilous hazards and dangerous consequences of being exposed to ultraviolet radiation.

Second, no children should be allowed to use either the tanning bed or the tanning booth. If children should obtain a tan, for whatever purpose, there should be a written consent of the parent or of the guardian.

And third, no tanning salon or similar facilities should ever advertise that using their tanning devices (such as bulbs, sun lamps, beds, and booths) is safe. This means that tanning salons should not use phrases such as “safe tanning”, “no harmful rays”, “zero adverse effects”, and any other similar phrases that indicate the same meaning.

Hopefully, the above requirements will help lessen the number of skin cancer cases each