We all want to be a little tan, even if it’s just to get that glow. Especially during the summer or right before a big event like prom, we all lay out by the pool or on the beach, visit tanning booths, and even apply self tanners so we can look a bit more golden.
The problem with this “glow” is that it might just destroy your skin…and health.
That might seem pretty dramatic, but there are seriously dangerous end results of all those hours in the sun, the least of which is that your skin will end up looking wrinkled, leathery and old way before it should. Glow now, hot mess in a few years.
Then there’s the obvious problem of getting a sunburn. Not only are sunburns painful while there, but even after they go away, they have permanently damaged your skin.
The scary part about this one little sunburn is that it can leave you more susceptible to skin cancer. And even if you don’t get visibly burned, high exposures to UV radiation (like in tanning booths) can also increase chances of getting skin cancer.
It Won’t Happen To Me
None of this information is new: we have all heard about the dangers of the sun before. But many of us think it wont happen to us, or if you were like me in high school, you think skin cancer only affects old people and that the doctor can just remove it.
That is so not the case.
The truth is skin cancer can occur at any age. The more exposure you have before age 18, the higher your risk of getting it before age 30. There is also more then one type of skin cancer, and while the doctor can just scrape off some types, others can spread quickly to major organs and need serious treatment like chemotherapy.
Is your tan now worth getting skin cancer later? If you still think it is, check out this video made by the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund which shows real people who wish they could have changed what they did when they were 16 to prevent what happened to them. It’ll change the way you treat the sun and remind you to be super careful now so you’re healthy down the road.
Changing your actions now could really help save you in the future. Take it from me that skin cancer can happen to anyone at any age – I’m 21 and had to have 2 spots on me tested by my dermatologist. Thankfully they were non-cancerous but the process of removal was sort of painful, not to mention scary.
So please do not think you are immune. Be proactive and start wearing more sunscreen, stop using tanning beds, and see a dermatologist for regular skin exams to help with early detection. You don’t need the sun to glow – a big smile and a healthy body will do the trick.
Last reviewed Nov. 3, 2014