Suncoast residents have unlimited sun and easy access to the beach. Yet the large number of tanning salons covering the state is growing with no sign of slowing down.
Florida has more indoor tanning facilities than McDonald's has restaurants, According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
And, statistics also find Floridians have more places to go tanning than CVS stores, Bank of America Branches and PUBLIX supermarkets.
"We have four in Sarasota, two in Bradenton. Two in Venice and some in North Port as well." Said Lydia Kessler, sales associate of ZOOM Tan in Sarasota.
Kessler uses the UV tanners and sprays. She explained the appeal. "When you live in Florida, its really much more in the norm to have a good tan all year long, and people don't want to have to accept being pale just because its winter time and they want to keep that tan look and they just feel more attractive."
But dermatologist, Heidi Anderson, M.D. said tanning booths are not safe. "In 2009, the World Health Organization said tanning booths are human carcinogens." Said Kessler.
"Tanning indoors increases their skin cancer risk." She added, "Fifteen percent for non-melanoma if they tan four times a year and eleven percent for the deadliest of melanoma if they tan indoors four times a year.'
These numbers don't seem to stop tan lovers.
ZOOM Tan in Sarasota sees quite a few on any given day.
Kessler said, "I'd probably say between thirty to forty usually," She added, people of all ages come in. "The youngest that I've ever seen is fifteen and the oldest Ive had is like eighty, so it really just kind of depends because a lot of people in their twenties and thirties and forties."
Dr. Anderson said tanning outside is the lesser of the evils. "Definitively we feel that its worse in the tanning booth for the concentrated amount of time that intensity is much brighter.
But, Kessler says she feels they're safe. "Technology is constantly improving, and constantly getting better, as the years go on." And there is a ten minute time limit with a twenty-four hour wait time between tanning. She said, "You cant come in more than in every twenty four hours."
But given the choice of sprays or tanning booths, Dr. Anderson has a definite preference.
"I honestly love sun less tanning lotions or tanning sprays if people need to have that satisfied."
And, there is a term for those wanting a little too much bronze"Tanorexia or a tanning addiction.' Said Anderson.
Kessler laughed when I asked if she thinks she may suffer from Tanorexia."No, I would hope not." She said.