A woman in an envelope holding a no sun sign

I Love You. Don't Tan.

Last updated: February 2020

It feels a little early to talk about base tans and tanning salon packages. If you’re a former tanning addict and skin cancer patient like me, you know there really isn’t a season for tanning - it’s a year-round battle. Before you know it, murmurs about beach trips will be swirling around you. Talk of base tans will bring about that urge to wake up in a warm tropical smelling fog and make you cringe all at the same time.

Can we prevent our family and friends from tanning?

Some of those talking the loudest and most frequently about tanning might even be your own family and friends. They have seen your scars, heard your story, and still they tan. Strangers discussing tanning salons in the produce section of the grocery store are easier to dismiss. You’d like to walk right up and tell them your story, but that’s awkward.

Friends and family, well, they are different. You want to be up-front, but sometimes that’s more awkward than sidling up to the ladies standing in front of the lettuce debating about which tanning package to buy and spilling your guts. It’s simply not an easy conversation.

A love note about quitting tanning

I am going to make it a bit easier for you. You don’t always have to have a face-to-face conversation with your loved ones about their tanning habits. The simpler thing might be to share this article and tag them, copy and paste the following passage from this piece into their inbox on Facebook, or send this link to their email account with a quick, “I love you.”

I love you - don't tan

Here goes:

Hey, you know how I had that skin cancer removed? Well, I would really like to not see you deal with that, too. My doctors are sure my tanning habits had a lot to do with me developing that spot. It seemed like no big deal, but it was actually a HUGE deal.

On top of that, my dermatologist thinks there will be more. One was more than enough. It’s some kind of never-ending cycle I am in now, and tanning was an important factor. Just like you, I tried so hard to stay tan, thinking as long as I didn’t burn I’d be fine. It’s really not fine at all. Tanned skin, I know now, actually is damaged skin.

Speaking of burning, I am also having spots that could be cancer burned off my skin. Each time the doctor freezes a spot off my skin, it leaves a white spotty scar. I am getting more of those every time I visit his office, and I’m not even tanning anymore. That’s just to keep the precancerous spots that might be cancer from turning into cancer - all from tanning.

I said all of that to say this: I love you and I want you to stop tanning, too. I don’t want you to stop because I stopped; I want you to stop because cancer of any kind is no joke. There are spray tans, tinted moisturizers, and self-tanning lotions we can try together. Hey, there’s a lot to be said for just staying strong and staying pale, too! Let me know if you want to know anything else about my experience. I would love to talk to you. I love you.

Maybe save a life

There. Done. It’s as simple as that. You have gotten it all off your chest, and you might have saved a life. Skin cancer is sneaky, and you have to be too sometimes, to stop the ones you love from doing something they might regret.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SkinCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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