I think by now most of us know that tanning isn’t good for you. All the same, isn’t there a teeny, weeny bit of you that loved the goggle tan you got this year? Didn’t you giggle like a third grader when you lifted your goggles and saw racoon eyes staring back from the mirror?
Okay, admit it. We’re all guilty.
There’s no doubt that people love being tan. We’ve all seen the picture of the now (in)famous “tanning mom.” I don’t get it, myself. Maybe it’s like OCD or something — you get obsessed and just can’t stop.
Extreme, I know. But you don’t have to go overboard to be unhealthy. Researchers have discovered that even a little tan isn’t good for you. Consider the following, from the Skin Care Foundation:
- Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
- One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 62 minutes).
And it’s getting worse. According to the Foundation, a new study reveals an alarming rise in melanoma among people aged 18 to 39. Over the past 40 years, rates of this potentially deadly skin cancer grew by 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men.
So before you head outside, whether to play in the summer sun or to hit the slopes next winter, here’s what you need to know:
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Everyone over the age of six months should use sunscreen daily year-round, in any weather.
- Sunscreen should not be neglected on overcast days, as 70-80 percent of the sun’s rays – above all, long-spectrum UVA rays – go through clouds and fog. In addition, according to the World Health Organization, UVR levels rise by about 8 to 10 percent for every 1000 feet of altitude, and reflection from sand, water, snow or concrete magnifies their effects by up to 80 percent.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
Remember, there’s no such thing as a safe tan. And the more you tan, the greater your chance of developing skin cancer.
Also, know the signs of skin cancer. If you see anything below on your skin , contact your dermatologist:
Be careful out there.
AMAZING article. Thanks for getting this information out there! It’s so inspiring to see sun safety awareness catching on in the ski industry. The statistics may be staggering, but all it takes to curb the skin cancer epidemic is a little responsibility – responsibility to your skin, and to your long term health. Way to go, Ski Diva!
I used to love being tanned, but my perspective completely changed after I went to New Zealand. The ozone layer there is incredibly thin, so even at 6pm you get burned after 15 minutes in the sun.
Nobody ever sunbathed, everyone wore long sleeved rash tops on the beach and sat in the shade the whole time.
Being in a country where skin cancer is a very real problem and you see the consequences that the sun has, makes you realize just how careful one has to be.