For the last nine years of my life, I have been tan for at least three months out the year. My sister and I decided over winter break that we were going to quit tanning for good and resort to vigorous skin and sun protection routines year round. I haven’t been applying sunscreen every day yet but plan to cover myself head to toe as the weather gets warmer and I wear less layers. We both have noticeable sun-kissed appearances with our freckles and natural yellowish tints but we’ve recently seen that sun damage is no joke. My mother and grandparents have all consistently had cancerous skin removed and in Mom’s case, a great deal of it is because she didn’t tan safely over 20 plus years ago.
A 2002 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that using indoor tanning devices increased the risk of skin cancers – 2.5 times for squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times for basal cell carcinoma – compared with nonusers. It is estimated that 2.3 million teens visit a tanning salon at least once a year; I used to be one of them. Unprotected outdoor tanning also increases your chances of developing melanoma, premature aging of the skin and wrinkles. I just turned 23 and that means 30 is right down the road; if I want to look my best, I need to stop further damage in its tracks. I want to look at this as a positive experience and embrace the consequences of giving up bronzed skin for more youthful looking skin in ten years.
All the positives to giving up tanning:
- Get to sit under an umbrella at the beach
- You can wear that adorable oversized hat to shade your face
- Rock the best sunglasses
- Can finally read some good books on the beach again without profusely sweating and dehydrating
- Can finally wear hippie jewelry with my bathing suit to the beach
- Protecting eyes from developing cataracts
- Protecting skin from melanoma, wrinkles and dark spots
- Skin won’t be used to make leather boots in 30 years 🙂