This is the time of year when many people love to get out into the sunshine. These past several months of staying indoors have only elevated the desire to be outdoors whenever that’s possible. For many people, tanning is a favorite activity to engage in during the summer. Whether a big vacation is on the horizon or there is just a desire to look refreshed and bronzed when looking in the mirror, those who want to believe their tanning isn’t doing harm need to face some hard truths. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we have to discuss the ugly facts that lie beneath some common myths about tanning.
Myth: “I look better with tanned skin.”
Ugly Truth: Ok, it is not a myth to say you look better with tanned skin because that is your subjective opinion. While your tan may look and feel good at the moment, it is important to know that the exposure you get to UV rays is degrading your skin from the inside out. Tanning in all forms breaks down collagen and leads to premature aging, which looks like leathery, crepey skin, sun spots, rough texture, and wrinkles.
Myth: I have time before I have to get serious about protecting my skin.
Ugly Truth: Youth does not protect a person from skin cancer. We see this in the statistics that reveal a rise in skin cancer rates among the 15 to 39 age group. Among these young adults, skin cancer is the third most common cancer to occur. The American Cancer Society has said that melanoma is the leading cancer-related death statistic in women aged 25 to 30.
Myth: As long as I get a good base tan, I won’t burn.
Ugly Truth: The reason that a tan develops in the first place is that the skin has been burned to some degree. It has been burned enough for the body to produce more melanin as a way to offset the damage that has been done. This doesn’t mean there is added protection from a base tan; not from premature aging nor skin cancer. A base tan is still a tan and is therefore unsafe.
Myth: My tanning bed use is safer than tanning at the beach.
Ugly Truth: Tanning lamps use UV lightbulbs, which means the skin is still exposed to damaging ultraviolet light. Safe? No. Studies indicate that just one session under tanning lamps increases the risk of melanoma by 20%. The same single-session exposure increases the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 67%.
A golden tan has been portrayed as a path toward enhanced beauty for far too long. If you want to boost your glow, find a quality sunless tanning lotion that will help you feel your best without putting you at risk of unwanted photodamage.
Do you have signs of premature aging caused by UV exposure? Do you have suspicious spots that could indicate skin cancer? We can help with both! Contact our Fresno office at 559-435-SKIN (7546) to schedule a visit!