So Many People Are Tan, Even Though It’s November!

I was in a store the other day, a store that is typically frequented by more women than men, and I noticed something strange: even though it was near the end of November and we have had much cooler weather for a couple of months now, many of the women were tan! It would be quite a coincidence for so many of the women in the store to have just gotten back from a tropical vacation, so that means...fake tans.

Tanning beds and skin cancer: they go together

I’m hoping that the tans I saw were from spray tans, but based on the crowded parking lots at the two tanning salons that I pass by almost daily, I have a feeling that more than a few of the women were frequenting tanning beds. Oh, how I hate to see this. And oh, how I wish we could get to a place where we didn’t feel the need to be tan to think we look good. Someone may think they look good with a tan (and I admit, I still struggle at times with thinking summer dresses would look cuter on me if my legs were tan), but a year-round tan courtesy of a tanning bed really doesn’t look good. Not to mention, having a deep, dark tan twelve months out of the year looks unnatural.

Why do we confuse "healthy" skin for damaged skin?

A person might think they have a "healthy glow", but in reality what they have is damaged skin. Some damage can be visible fairly quickly. A sunburn is one example of this. Tanning bed usage can also cause premature aging of the skin. Leathery skin, wrinkles, and sunspots are examples. They may not show up right away, but there’s a good chance they’ll show up down the road.

It's not just our skin... it's our eyes too

Damage that may not be visible is the damage to a person’s eyes caused by tanning bed usage. The UV radiation from a tanning bed can cause irreversible damage to the eyes, especially if a person doesn’t wear goggles while tanning. According to the Cleveland Clinic, using a tanning bed puts someone at higher risk for cataracts and ocular melanoma. Tanning beds produce 100 times more UV levels than what one would get from the midday sun, which can severely damage the eyes and eyelids.

Tanning beds increase your risk of skin cancer exponentially

While someone might think they look great with their year-round tan, they may not be thinking about the skin cancer that could be forming. Exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of developing skin cancer, greatly. The Skin Cancer Foundation’s site states that in a study of 63 women who were diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 30, 61 of those women (97%) had used tanning beds. In fact, using a tanning bed before the age of 35 increases one’s risk of developing melanoma by 75%.

Let's just say it: avoid tanning!

And according to the American Cancer Society, “the greatest avoidable known risk factor for skin cancer is the use of indoor tanning devices.” Let that sink in. This statement is something that needs to be shouted from the rooftops! Bottom line - there’s no such thing as a “safe” or a “healthy” tan. Your glowing skin right now might not look so lovely down the road. Take good care of your skin – and stay out of the tanning bed.

What would you tell someone who you know still uses tanning beds?

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