Sick.

I read this article on tanning beds, and it made me sick to my stomach to think about all the times I went tanning before prom or homecoming as a high schooler.  And while I know I went a lot less than many girls my age, and I stopped many years ago because I knew it was so bad (and even when I was doing it, I knew it wasn’t good but somehow justified it to myself), I just hate that I did so much damage to my skin in the name of not being pale.  Ack. I mean, obviously, I know what I can do now to be safe, and there’s no reason to beat myself up over something I can’t change, but still.

Here’s what really sticks out to me from the article:

But as use of tanning beds has increased among people under 30, doctors have seen a parallel rise in the numbers of young people with skin cancer. In Britain, melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, is now the leading cancer diagnosed in women in their 20s. Normally, skin cancer rates are highest in people over 75.

Previous studies found younger people who regularly use tanning beds are eight times more likely to get melanoma than people who have never used them.

And:

A new analysis of about 20 studies concludes the risk of skin cancer jumps by 75 percent when people start using tanning beds before age 30. Experts also found that all types of ultraviolet radiation caused worrying mutations in mice, proof the radiation is carcinogenic. Previously, only one type of ultraviolet radiation was thought to be lethal.

The new classification means tanning beds and other sources of ultraviolet radiation are definite causes of cancer, alongside tobacco, the hepatitis B virus and chimney sweeping, among others.

Nevermind that repeated tanning (in the sun or a tanning bed) every year makes you age faster. Yuck. I need to read articles like this every once in a while to be able to embrace my paleness…I mean, even with repeated, dangerous sun exposure, I’m never going to be dark (see Monday’s post for evidence of my “deep, dark tan”).  Palest bridesmaid at the wedding this weekend?  For sure.  And I’m gonna be okay with that. (Not because I think everyone else will have tanned excessively, but because I’m usually the palest person wherever I am.)

8 responses to “Sick.

  1. I have long struggled with being happy with my pale-skinned self. And I still do take much convincing to don a bathing suit on a beach full of bronzed beauties. But, what is interesting to me every time is what danger we put ourselves in when we try to be something we just naturally aren’t. And the reverse situation occurs as well. Apparently women in Asia have long been trying to whiten their skin with creams and lotions, even going so far as ingesting ground pearl powder to attain a more porcelain skin. And not without cost. Apparently several women wound up with severe mercury toxicity from this practice.
    Just sickening to me that so many times I’ve tried to be something I’m not when someone else is desperately trying to be just the thing I don’t want to be.
    And those are my deep thoughts for today, spurred by a post on tanning beds! Who would have guessed!

  2. I’ve only used a tanning bed a couple of times in my life, but I shudder to think of the damage I did to my skin as a teenager out in the sun. I would literally put on baby oil and bake myself like a roasted vegetable.

    I’ve been blessed with skin that tans easily, and as dark as I would get, it just never seemed dark enough! I’ve matured now a little (I think), and I always regularly apply sunscreen. I don’t have the obsession to get dark, but I’ll admit I like getting a summer glow through my SPF 15. After reading this article, I’m convicted to use a higher SPF!

  3. eric and i go to our dermatologist once a year to have her check us b/c i’m so freaked out by skin cancer.
    when i think of how many years i lifeguarded, layed out, went to a tanning salon and WORKED in a tanning salon, it completely freaks me out.

  4. Yes – I used to actually FEEL better with a little color. What an oxymoron. It has been almost a decade since I have been in a tanning bed, I’m happy to say. But I’m not the best at sunscreen for myself (except on my face). I, too, saw this news story and cringed.

  5. Jill (thebaglady)

    Tanning beds shouldn’t even exist IMO.

  6. What is really sad is that when you go to a tanning bed, they now put in brochures telling you “The Truth about Tanning” and try to discredit the research!

  7. I’m with you. While I didn’t tan much at all growing up (like I think I’ve been to a tanning bed maybe 10 times, tops), I did spend a lot of unnecessary time in the sun without sunscreen on in the attempts to burn first so it would fade into a tan. D-U-M..dumb…

    I think around 24-25, I started taking sun care seriously. I do like to spend a lot of time in the sun, of course, but I’m much more diligent now about sunscreen and I generally use a minimum of SPF 30 on my body and up to 50 on my face.

    There are some women at my parents’ condo that are a walking billboard for sunscreen and skin care. Their skin is literally leather, and it hangs from their bones. Every time I see one of them, I reapply…like, twice.

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