Katie Morgan plans on getting a base tan before going to Jamaica for Spring Break.
By Michael Wunderlich
USC senior Katie Morgan plans to spend her last Spring Break soaking up the sun in Jamaica.
To make sure she's not getting burnt on the beach, Morgan is getting what's called a base tan before she goes on vacation.
"I don't want to get that burn, like that initial burn when you hit the sun," Morgan said.
Students like Morgan are heading to the tanning beds to get ready for spring break.
"They develop that base tan and you develop a base tan prior to going out in the real sun, then you're four times less likely to burn," said Sun Your Buns tanning salon owner Nancy Hornsby.
Dermatologist Dina Grice disagrees.
"The reality is that, there is no such thing as a base tan. It's actually a deeper penetrating radiation, more damaging and they're not really getting the base tan of protection that they think," Grice said.
Some student apartment complexes in Columbia, like The Retreat, are offering other alternatives, like spray tanning for students.
"We asked our residents if they were interested," said Craig Haughton, Retreat property manager. "We had a huge response. Every single slot was booked."
Safer alternatives like spray tanning may help students avoid the damage that tanning beds expose them to, even with a base tan.