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Have You Forgotten the Ugly Truths About Tanning?

For some, the sunlight and the perceived benefits it brings are nearly irresistible. This is especially true at this time of year when we want to bask in the warmth of the sun’s rays before they leave for many months. The beauty of the sunshine is not lost on us. However, we have to shine the light of truth on the myths that keep people interested in the concept of tanning. Sure, tanned skin may be cosmetically appealing. On the flip side, the 55% increased risk of skin cancer that comes with tanning is not appealing from any perspective.

On the note of the cosmetic appeal of tanned skin, we also should mention that the time that one spends in the sun to get that gorgeous skin is doing damage that will eventually degrade both dermatologic health and appearance.

Before you head out to get your golden tan, consider the true costs of believing myths about tanning.

Myth: Tanned skin looks better than pale skin.

Truth: We can’t argue with this belief because it is subjective. Some people truly feel better when their skin has some color. While a bit of color can do wonders for one’s appearance, it’s how a tan is achieved that matters. When tanning is done with UV light, the short-lived enhancement of color comes at the cost of long-term health and beauty. UV light breaks down the skin, leading to roughness, splotchiness, and line and wrinkles down the line.

Myth: I’m young. I don’t need to worry about skin cancer.

Truth: According to recent studies, skin cancer cases have continued to rise in younger age groups. In fact, among those aged 15 to 39, skin cancer is the third most common cancer to occur.

Myth: I’ll be ok as long as I get a good base tan.

Truth: The idea of a base tan as protection stems from the fact that melanin is produced as a protective measure against sun damage. However, the increase in melanin indicates that sun damage has already occurred. Any tan is an unsafe tan.

Myth: Using a tanning bed is safer than regular tanning because it’s controlled.

Truth: There is a reason why the FDA has recently cracked down on indoor tanning because it poses a significant risk of skin cancer development. In some states, indoor tanning is not available for people under age 18. Those over the age of 18 are often asked to periodically sign a waiver form to indicate that they understand the risks they are taking by using tanning beds. This should say something about safety.

The desire for bronzed skin does not have to go unmet. Several good sunless tanning products have been developed in recent years.

The desire for healthy, beautiful skin is something we can help you with. To schedule a skin cancer screening, dermatologic exam, or cosmetic treatment at our Westerville, OH office, call 614-895-0400.

Posted in: Skin Cancer

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