Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

In search of beauty, don’t compromise your health

With spring break quickly approaching, females on this campus are taking drastic measures to prepare themselves for swimsuit season. A male-dominated world has created a laundry list describing the perfect woman, and pressures to look a certain way have always plagued the woman psyche.

But outside of the attempts to form the physical shape of our bodies, an equally scary treatment is steadily rising in popularity on our campus – and it’s created a “glowing” sign of desperation to look good.

Tanning beds, and the artificial sunlight they produce, are being visited long before the real heat and sun are frequent enough to obtain a healthy glow. But a fake tan is just that: fake. And not only is an orange glow in mid-January weird, it’s dangerous. Tanning beds have been directly linked to cancer.

If you think the warning label “causes cancer” would be enough to deter women (and men) from such a dangerous habit, you’d be wrong. Just look to the cigarette debate that finds itself on this page once a week for a reminder that health isn’t the biggest priority on this campus. People smoke cigarettes for personal enjoyment, though. And unless you have a mirror constantly following you around, tanning isn’t for yourself as much as it is for the people that look at you.

We’ve seen crazed reality stars admit to being “tanorexic,” or addicted to tanning, but the humor behind the word protects it from being seriously considered at the level of danger it truly deserves. There is truth behind being addicted to tanning or the sunlight, but, just like sugar, the artificial stuff doesn’t cut it. Sure, you find vitamin D in tanning beds, just like you can in real rays of sun, but the amount of vitamin D you are exposed to in a tanning bed is dangerous. Overkill of vitamin D can permanently affect your pigmentation and eventually affects your ability to take in vitamin D later in your life.

Besides, no one believes a tan in the middle of February, especially in Tuscaloosa, where it is cloudy more often than not in the winter. And no one is going to believe a tan that’s the color of a tangerine, summer or winter.

I’ve grown tired of seeing beautiful girls colored orange, masking their natural freckles and cheek pigmentation. Seeing these girls, often in hordes, and hearing people say “I need to go tanning today” makes me question where this obsession came from.

Like health problems associated with weight, we can point some fingers at pop culture. We see tan celebrities and our minds tell us, “That must be what beautiful looks like,” tan and all. But this obsession cannot be completely blamed on our pop idols. I’ve heard males, some on this campus, talk about how “ugly” pale girls are.

I’m having trouble grasping why women have allowed someone else’s opinion of what is beautiful force them to risk their lives. Sure, I think I look better tan, but it’s not worth exposing myself to cancer to prematurely get one.

If you’re that in need of a glow, there are lotions and sprays that will do the trick without the risk. Or even better, wait a few days, and use those spring break rays to get a natural glow; just don’t forget the sunscreen.

Natural is beautiful; pale is beautiful. And even though it’s cliché, you are beautiful (go ahead, roll your eyes, you cynic). I implore you: Don’t let society tell you otherwise, and most importantly, don’t compromise your health for something as superficial as an artificial tan.


SoRelle Wyckoff is the opinions editor of The Crimson White. 

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