If you stopped four people coming out of a tanning salon and asked them about their bronzing habits, you would likely receive four very different answers. No two individuals approach tanning in the same manner. They have varying levels of frequency, intensity and motivation. Thus, their individual risks for skin cancer and premature aging are different. Some are more at risk while others are less so, and as such, varying forms of intervention and education need to be used. The first step to formulating these methods is identifying the tanning types:
1. The Event Tanner – she rarely goes to the tanning salon, looking down on those who can’t stay away. But when a wedding or party looms in the future, she looks in the mirror at her ashen skin with horror. The weeks preceding the event are filled with hours of artificial sunlight and a prayer for the perfect, temporary bronze.
2. The Regular Tanner – she’s on a first name basis with the salon staff, regularly bringing them their favorite coffees before hopping onto the bed. It’s a rare week that doesn’t see one or two trips, regardless of season.
3. The Mood Tanner – she was at the store next door and figured a tanning session couldn’t hurt. She doesn’t go too often, only when it’s convenient and even then, only if she feels like it.
4. The Mixed Tanner – depending on the time of year, she’s in the tanning booth with a regularity that implies obsession, but at other times she couldn’t care less about the radiating salon . . . unless, of course, there’s an event. If that happens, bronzing is not an option; it’s a must.
Once you’ve recognized what type of tanner you are dealing with, you can determine how best to broach the subject of skin cancer and other, related dangers. An event or mixed tanner probably needs the least amount of coaxing to stay out of the salon, while a mood or regular tanner may require a bit more talking. It’s all about where the act fits into their lifestyle. Is it a matter of appearance, or is there a deeper reason? Once you figure this out, you can figure out how to keep them skin cancer free.
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