Woman getting a spray tan on one side of her and using self tanning lotion on the other side

Tanning After Skin Cancer

Tanning after skin cancer? Wait, hear me out. I grew up tanning as often as I could. It was just something we did here in Florida and as a teen in the 80s, if you weren't tan you must not be having fun. It was a way of showing that you'd gone to the beach, you'd had fun, and you were cool.

Fast forward to the late 90s and early 2000s and it wasn't so cool because I had basal cell carcinoma twice. One required surgery and the other was Mohs surgery-both on my face. What do you expect with a redhead with fair skin? Yet, I still love how I look with a tan.

Tanning after skin cancer: it's not just me!

It's not just me either. According to an article at Time1, researchers report that 27.3% people who have a melanoma history reported never using sunscreen. That's despite the fact that sunscreen protects against harmful UV rays, which increase the risk of skin cancer. Another alarming statistic reported is that 15.4% of melanoma survivors say they don't stay in the shade, despite the risks. A smaller number, 2.1%, say that they still go to the tanning salon even after their diagnosis.

What are the alternatives?

The good news is that there are alternatives that I use now, and you can too! Here are a couple of ideas.

Self-tanning products

I tried when I was younger. I remember my dad allowing me to buy some QT, which stood for Quick Tan. The problem was that it turned my skin orange and my mother had a fit. Nowadays, there are high-quality tanning products that allow you to look pretty natural if you use them correctly.

Make sure you read the reviews before you buy and look at before and after photos of real clients. Exfoliate your skin first and make sure it's moisturized. If you use the product correctly and it's a trusted product, you can be tan easily for a few days without messing up your skin with the sun.

Spray tans

Using a tanning salon isn't always a bad idea since most now offer spray tans. Those work similar to the self-tanning products you buy except you don't have to worry about missing areas or not being able to reach certain parts like your back. They're not always the most economical idea but they're convenient and you tan evenly, without worrying about streaks or uneven areas.

With these, you stand in a booth with your clothing removed. Every so often you'll change positions and there is a speaker in there telling you how to stand. The tanning booth also dries the product so that you don't get the spray on your clothing. There are all kinds of products that help maintain the tan longer, help you moisturize your skin, and more.

These are great for events where you want to look your best or you can do it as often as you want if you want to look tan all year round.

Find what works for you

Whether it's self-tanning products or visiting a tanning salon and using their spray tan feature, there are alternatives that allow you to feel good about how you look without baking your skin.

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