The tanning salon Scandinavian Sun formerly featured in the Kingston Emporium has been closed for the school year due to what appears like lack of business. Its closing has been caused by what Health Services’ medical professionals assume is the result of their efforts to make the dangers of tanning beds known.
The now-empty “Scandinavian Sun” salon is located between “The Rhode House” and “University Spirit” in the emporium on Fortin Road. To the knowledge of the neighboring business owners, the tanning salon isn’t opening this year simply due to lack of patrons.
According to the “Scandinavian Sun” website, there are several health benefits to indoor tanning. Besides having the desired look of that sun-kissed skin during the winter months, the UV rays are advertised as an alleviation for a variety of symptoms plaguing college students.
“Benefits of UV light [can] include [improving] seasonal affective disorder, stress by decreasing adrenalin levels and releasing endorphins for the feeling of well-being, body weight by stimulating the thyroid gland and boosting metabolism, acne and psoriasis,” claims the website.
Others, however, beg to differ. Despite the vanity of having a suntan while the rest of us New Englanders stay pale, most medical professionals will tell you the risks of tanning beds outweigh the benefits.
Roger Jadosz, an RN of the Health Education department in the Potter building, has had experience with warning students about the dangers of indoor tanning. He’s worked with Meghan Rothschild, a stage 2 melanoma survivor, since 2010. Her mission was to educate young people about choosing paleness over a cancer that is diagnosed in about 60,000 Americans each year.
“Because of her we really ramped up our efforts… we have two skin machines we take to dorms and do a lot of presentations with. A picture’s worth a thousand words, so once you get your head underneath that hood, we can tell if you’ve been in a salon recently, from scarring or damage,” says Jadosz.
Rothschild’s short documentary “Dear 16-Year-Old Me” has over 9 million views on YouTube. In it, her and fellow survivors of a deadly skin cancer called melanoma urge their younger selves to skip the tanning bed and accept their body as it is, because it will haunt them later. The video has inspired countless viewers to write back to Rothschild’s organization on how the collection of stories impacted their own lives, as well as sparked their creativity into filming remakes.
Rothschild was diagnosed with melanoma only two weeks before her 20th birthday, a sophomore at Roger Williams University. She beat cancer at the tender age of 21, but still lives with the scars of having moles and lymph nodes surgically removed that have permanently disfigured her skin. Now she is a board member of the Melanoma Foundation of New England and launched the “Your Skin Is In” program, travelling to different high schools and colleges to keep teens from tanning before prom or spring break.