Two Women Share Two Different Views on Tanning

By: Karen Campbell Email
By: Karen Campbell Email

Tanning - is it good or is it bad for your health?

That's the question health professionals and users of tanning salons are pondering.

But for 15-year old Sabrina Mathews, she says it's beneficial to her health.

"I've had people tell me before, ' You're so tanned.' I tell them I go tanning. Then they say, 'You know that's bad for you?' I say no it's not really, it helps me and it helps clear away acne and it makes my skin feel better," said Sabrina Mathews of Staunton.

Mathews goes tanning about once a week to help with her eczema.

"When I go tanning it heals it up, almost completely," said Mathews.

Mathews was diagnosed with eczema as a child.

She went to her doctor and was prescribed creams that she says didn't work.

She says her doctor noticed a positive difference in her skin after she had gone tanning.

Dawn Chaplin, of Staunton, wasn't so lucky.

"I started working in the salon where I got to tan for free. So I tanned every day. Seven days a week."

Chaplin went tanning for about nine years.

But that love of tannning, led to cancer.

What's even worse?

She was three months pregnant when she got the news.

"To have a newborn baby and to find out that you had cancer spread to your vital organs was traumatizing. I didn't know if I was going to live long enough to see my kids grow up. I just didn't know what else to do. I just put my faith and trust in the doctors at UVA and God bless them, they cured me," said Chaplin, a cancer survivor.

Chaplin says as her children get older, she hopes her story of survival steers them away from tanning salons.

"You may enjoy tanning now but you don't know what the consequences will be later in life," said Chaplin.

As for Mathews, she says she's found a way to heal.

"The tanning really helps me," Mathews said.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, photo or light therapy to help treat eczema is recommended.

Experts say be careful of those UV rays, because they are dangerous, and overexposure can cause cancer. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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