Mothers and daughters frequently have activities that bond them. Shopping, going out to lunch or watching movies together are great ways to connect with one’s daughter. However, a recent study showed that daughters who were first introduced to indoor tanning with their moms have a much higher incidence of continuing the habit despite warnings that indoor tanning contributes to skin cancer. Not to mention the fact that “the World Health Organization has labeled indoor tanning as a class one carcinogen.”
The study at University of East Tennessee State University explored how old female students were when they first began indoor tanning and who had they gone with the first time. The researchers found that almost 40 percent of the 227 students had gone with their mothers for their first visit with the average age being 14. Another 32 percent had gone with a friend and 20 percent had gone alone, with their average age being 16.
What was significant about the study is that the female students who began indoor tanning by going with their mother were five times as likely to be considered heavy tanners (going twice a month or more) than the other students. Combine this with the observation that daughters started going at an earlier age if they went with their mothers means even more exposure to the harmful UV rays.
The conclusion brought forth with the study is that women may still not be fully aware of the harm indoor tanning can cause. It doesn’t seem likely that a mother would purposely expose a daughter to such a risk so more education aimed at these groups is needed.
Women tan for different reasons. Many believe a tanned look is more attractive than pale skin. Additionally, research has shown that some people become “addicted” to tanning and feel less good about themselves when they are not regularly going.
At a Northeastern University, 421 college students were given questionnaires regarding their tanning habits; 229 students were users of indoor tanning beds. Approximately 31 to 39 percent of those students who used indoor tanning beds met the criteria that would classify them as addicted to tanning. “Regular tanners were also more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and higher use of alcohol, marijuana and other substances, ” according to the New York Times.
Tanning is a dangerous way to relieve stress and anxiety but it is hard to convince women that something that makes them feel more beautiful today may cause them a health risk many years later. If you are a mother, don’t take your daughter to a tanning salon for a girl’s outing. Better to spend time getting your hair or make up done as a way to connect and build self-esteem.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles