With our recent streak of warm, sunny weather (let’s hope I don’t jinx it!) everyone is starting to think about summer once again.
With summer comes days spent lounging at the lake or otherwise spending time in the sun, which is always a great feeling.
Sunshine helps our bodies produce vitamin D, and gives our skin a wonderful glow.
The tan, caused by solar UV radiation, often makes people, and more specifically women, feel better about themselves.
It is for this reason many girls in Grade 12 go to tanning salons prior to prom and grad – to get darker skin and feel better about themselves.
But in reality, they’re doing more damage than good.
Although pale white skin belonged only to the nobility in the middle ages, the more widely desired skin tone is now much darker.
A story in The Interior News, reported the government is in the process of passing a law to prevent youth under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning beds.
The move follows in the footsteps of the Canadian Cancer Society and high schools throughout B.C. who are in the middle of their second annual Tan-Free Grad campaign.
This year, Charlotte Brook is leading the campaign at Smithers Secondary School.
Charlotte says she became involved in the campaign because she’s interested in a career in health care, specifically as a nurse and she, “Wanted to get involved in something to help prevent and raise awareness about cancer.”
Charlotte is backed by a committee of four other graduating students: Savannah Shott, Chloe Boland-Hicks, Ashley Halvorson, and Alastair McLellan.
Together, they have raised awareness throughout the school of the dangers of tanning beds.
To date, 74 per cent of the grad class have pledged to be tan free, which ranks SSS as the 5th best school in northern B.C., in terms of the percentage of grads pledging to be tan free.
Although the remaining 26 per cent of grads are not necessarily using tanning beds, some of them certainly are, despite the risks involved.
One Grade 12 student who uses tanning beds said, on the condition of anonymity, she goes to the tanning salon because it just made her feel better.
“Even five minutes [in the tanning bed] makes you feel like you’ve been out at the beach all day,” she said.
Melanoma skin cancer is one of the most common forms of skin cancer for people between the ages of 15 and 29, and is mostly preventable.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Canada.
How can you greatly reduce your risk for skin cancer?
Wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses greatly helps when spending long periods of time outdoors – even in the winter or in cloudy conditions – and stay out of the tanning bed!
As the Canadian Cancer Society states… “no tan is a safe tan.”
Katelynn Bolster is a Grade 12 student at Smithers Secondary School and a contributor to the Interior News.