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The Ally Way: Tanorexia


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Published 2011-05-10T17:23:00Z”/>

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Ally Dukkers

If it’s a lotion in a bottle that promises your skin a bronzed glow, I’ve tried it.

I was a tan child but somewhere around puberty my skin became translucent. Blame it on my European heritage or my seventh grade obsession with AOL instant messaging – whatever it was, I was white. Somewhere in my late teens I discovered tanning beds and tanning lotion, which became my new obsession.

Despite my mother’s constant cancer warnings and wrinkle threats, I was never satisfied and kept right on drenching my body in smelly lotions and taking trips to light bulb beach.

This year, however, I decided to wean myself off the artificial sun. I decided darker pigment might not be worth the possibility of cancer.

Women are more susceptible to cancer and those who visit a tanning salon at least once a month are 55 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, according to the Tanning Bed Dangers website.

The instant gratification of turning a shade darker in 15 minutes is quite an addiction for me.

If you’ve ever been to a tanning salon you know that they provide little stickers of hearts and stars that you can stick to your skin while you lay in the bed, leaving a little white design in its place, tracking your progress and adding a reason to obsess over the gradual change.

While tanning in the sun is a slower process, it is very addictive as well. I’ve spent hours cooking my body, to the point where it is uncomfortable, but continue to lay out hoping for that tan line. One time my friend and I poured olive oil on our bodies, frying our skin, wanting a tan but receiving a dangerous burn.

As a teenager I thought I could do almost any life-threatening activities. Now I realize I don’t want my kids to have a wrinkly, saggy-skinned mother with skin cancer.

Tanning beds have been categorized in the highest cancer risk category by the World Health Organization.

Another high risk to fake and baking is the damage it can cause to your eyes. The ultraviolet levels from tanning beds is up to 100 times stronger than the sun and can cause internal and external damage to eyes and eyelids, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

While I probably won’t stop tanning outside entirely, I have quit the tanning booths and replaced my Hawaiian Tropic Tan Amplifier Oil with sunscreen.

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<strong>Ally Dukkers can be reached at</strong>

<em>[email protected]</em>

 

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      The Ally Way: Tanorexia