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A Tanning Salon Membership and the Best Gift Ever

My youngest daughter recently turned 20. She is at the age where many people still feel invincible like nothing bad would ever happen to them. I love her dearly and adore pretty much everything about her except for one thing.....she likes to go to the tanning bed. Despite the fact that I have had skin cancer for over twenty years, and despite the fact that I have had numerous surgeries to remove cancerous areas, and despite her seeing what I’ve gone through with my surgeries and the healing process, she tans.

The lure of an affordable tan

Typical of a lot of people who go to the tanning bed, she said she likes the way she looks with tan skin. It makes her feel better about herself, she said. Even though I’ve quoted to her statistics about the dangers of tanning and the increase in skin cancer chances, she continued to tan. She told me that her tanning membership is unlimited tanning for “only” twenty-something dollars a month. She is a marketer’s dream.

With their advertising, tanning bed companies prey on people. They advertise reasonably-priced or low-priced tanning packages to lure people into their salons. They push the agenda that if a person has a tan, that person is more attractive. They try to convince people that having a tan makes them look healthy. (Neither of these statements is true, by the way.)

Paying the price later

I’ve yet to hear a tanning company mention what actually happens down the road after tanning bed usage: the wrinkles, the sunspots on the skin, the leathery skin, and the possibility of skin cancer. Tanning salons fail to mention that the low price of tanning is ultimately a high price for a person to pay, considering the damage they are doing to their skin. Additionally, using a tanning bed can greatly increase a person’s risk for having melanoma. People can and do die from melanoma. I’ve never heard a tanning salon advertise “low prices, unlimited tanning, and death” – but perhaps they should.

Mothers' heartbreaks due to tanning

I worry about my daughter. I don’t want her to go through what I’ve been through in my battle with skin cancer. I want her to have better, to be better, to do better. Even though I had told her many times I wanted her to stop going to the tanning bed, she continued.

I felt as if I were talking to a brick wall, but I didn’t give up. One evening, she, her boyfriend and I were sitting at our kitchen table talking, and I shared with them that I had received messages on Facebook from three different women within the last week telling me that they had lost their daughters at an early age (early 20s) due to melanoma, and how heartbreaking that was.

Thankful for a message received

And that is when she told me she would be canceling her tanning membership. This news thrilled me but I was cautiously optimistic in case she changed her mind, although I prayed she didn’t. Two days later, she texted me that she had just canceled her membership at the tanning salon. Even though Mother’s Day was still a couple of weeks away, she had given me the best gift she could have possibly given me, and for that I am very thankful.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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