Talking about tanning

Although Shelbie Williams started tanning with her mother’s consent when she was 15, proposed legislation might forbid it in Michigan.
Krystle Wagner
Nov 7, 2013

State lawmakers are discussing banning indoor tanning for those younger than 18.

States with similar bans are California, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Vermont. The United Kingdom, Germany, Scotland, France, and several Australian states and Canadian provinces have also banned indoor tanning for minors.

Currently, Michigan teens under the age of 18 must have parental consent to use tanning facilities.

Williams, now 20, said she started tanning before going on family vacations so she wouldn’t get sunburned when they visited warmer climates. The Grand Haven woman has worked as a sales associate at Tahiti Tan in Grand Haven Township for three years, and tans two or three times a week.

“I like to have a nice natural glow,” Williams said.

Joe Levy, executive director of International Smart Tan Network, said he opposes a ban on tanning. A ban would turn people to using at-home tanning beds, which aren’t regulated like tanning salons, he said.

A blanket ban on minors tanning isn’t educational, according to Levy.

“We need to teach people how to be sun smart,” he said.

Levy said the point is to induce a tan, not a burn. He said tanning bed facilities deliver an intensity of light that is a fraction of the exposure people get from the sun at the beach.

In May, the U.S. Department of Food and Drug Administration started looking into reclassifying sunlamps in tanning beds. The change would also require labeling to include a recommendation designed to warn young users the consequences of using a tanning bed.

Levy said tanning salons assist clients with options that best suit them, using charts that ask about untanned skin color, eye color, natural hair color, freckles, how often they get sunburn and their darkest tanning potential. The forms also inform users about “sensible, moderate and responsible exposure to ultraviolet radiation," he said. It also warns about overexposure that can cause eye and skin injuries, and allergic reactions.

The form also states that repeated exposure may cause premature aging of the skin and skin cancer. It informs users not to tan if they have a sunburn.

Dr. Bruce Brod, chairman of the American Academy of Dermatology’s State Affairs Committee, said there aren’t health benefits to indoor tanning, and it “significantly increases” the risks of skin cancer, such as melanoma, because it damages DNA. The Pennsylvania-based dermatologist said the committee supports a ban on tanning for minors because it’s “what’s politically feasible.”

Brod equates an indoor tanning ban for minors to the age requirements for purchasing alcohol and cigarettes.

“It’s the sale of radiation to minors,” he said.

Dr. Tulika Singh, a primary care physician for the North Ottawa Community Health System, said tanning is harmful if done in excess.

Tanning stimulates vitamin D production, but Singh said it’s safer for someone to take oral supplements to raise their vitamin D level.

Singh said both indoor and outdoor tanning are harmful when the tanner is exposed to UVA and UVB rays, which can cause sunburn, premature skin aging, skin cancer and cataracts. She said the high concentrations of UVA and UVB from tanning beds can cause damage in less time.

“There is no such thing as a safe tan,” Singh added.

Singh recommends people use tanning beds no more than once a week, if at all. If you do, she recommends wearing sunscreen with SPF over 30 and lip balm with SPF over 30 to protect from skin burn.



Big Brother better ban all children under 18 from playing outside when the sun is out also. They should only be able to sit inside and play government approved video games while eating government approved snacks while the parents watch government controlled television.


The Matrix!


ugh! I hate those movies, they seriously creep me out. The wife loves them. I leave the room.


You're just afraid they might be true and it scares the living bejeebers otta ya.




“I like to have a nice natural glow,” Williams said.

Natural? I don't think that word means what you think it means.


I have to agree. That is not natural anything. The 'natural glow' around here in the winter is stark white, look around you (anywhere except @ work). People with that glow here & now are the abberation.


It's Michigan. In November. Natural means sheet white, just like the rest of us. Oompa Loompa orange is far from natural, but to each his own.


No kidding right? I always wondered what that color was, oh funny stuff, we could call them colored people; easy now, its humor and it's about funny white/orange people.

Seriously, if someone tried to make me that color I would kick their, well you know... and people pay to look that terrible. It's amazing to me that they can't hear all the laughter; they think people are looking at them because they look good...WRONG! Natural tan=good, salon tan=bad!


And speaking of white on a sheet, how about we...



Comedic masterpiece.


I thought he was referring to this:


He was. But he INSISTS he's not racist.

Tri-cities realist

Lanny, I can't resist... Jessica BLACK, whose son donned a KKK robe for Halloween.... Kind of like the lawyer for the medical marijuana guy, named Daniel Grow. Sometimes I wonder if this stuff is made up, but then realize the truth is often stranger than fiction. Not sure why I'm fascinated by irony in people's names, do I need help? On 2nd thought, don't answer that question :-)


Clean miss Lani, 1983 got it right though.


Dear rukidding,

Please - please, don't take my comment personally - it was strictly business! Of course, we all know you aren't racist but rather have the heart of a horndo...poet.




Im not sure how you intended that last comment, but my mind went directly to the gutter. If that is in fact what you were leaning toward, I like the way you think. :)


Brilliant minds...Or is it birds of a feather...either way works.


Studies have shown that over 170,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers diagnosed each year are directly attributed to tanning beds, and that those who first use a tanning bed before age 35 have an increased risk of being diagnosed with the more deadly melanoma by 75%.


In an effort to catch these terrible issues I would like to volunteer my services to check...


What the....? You are so inscrutable.


I might take offense, rather than do that I will just...

Actually one might use any number of adjectives to describe your perception.

Enigmatic, mysterious, unreadable, inexplicable, unexplainable, incomprehensible, impenetrable, unfathomable, unknowable; there's a few for you, please use them sparingly.

It really depends on the day/mood that you catch us. We're both pretty good old boys but our personalities are different, our motives most assuredly conflicting, and this can cause confusion at times to those who don't know us; nobody on this forum could know us well and that suits us fine. We're just here having fun most of the time, learning some things as well, but mostly just the interaction with others is reason enough. Oh, we don't lie, so attempting to decipher the humor from the serious can often be a challenge for the novice or clueless; there is always a method … We're happy as long as we understand each other and know that we cause no harm; we learned to coexist peacefully years ago after self exploration. I will say that those that do know both of us don’t mind being with one or the other, at least this is what we’ve been told and has been confirmed by our experience over the years.

There, now are you more confused or has the light come on; however dim, and at least now you realize there may be a reason. We are passionate, patriotic, loyal, and romantic to a fault; we do all things to excess and perfection, at least close enough to satisfy ourselves and our standards are very high. We fall correctly on the astrological charts and this helps some think they understand us or at least the reason for us; we don’t personally believe in this drivel. Alrighty then – good luck with that.


Whoa! I was hoping you'd explain your reply to my comment - I couldn't make heads nor tails of it. But now you've gone and done it, offering a thought-provoking, erudite, and philosophical dissertation that will dominate hours (minutes) of examination, that my Gemininian persuasions will sift, freeze, polarize, and internalize for future use, and will be both a guiding force and instructive instruction when I next might create a comment on this forum, and especially one directed to an online presence and spirit named rukidding.




To your hiccup




See Lani... fun right?


It's all fun, ruk! soon as that ends, I'm done.


Alright, I'm fighting a cold (there's several doses of Nyquil involved) and I may be waaay off, but are you related to this lady1983, like maybe she's your daughter?


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