Hello lovely readers. I typically like to keep this blog pretty lighthearted and fun, but this is an issue I'm so passionate about that it's hard for me not to preach about it.
WARNING, I'M ABOUT TO PREACH!
Skin Cancer. The rates are higher than ever before. In fact, research suggests that people who start using sunbeds under the age of 35 increase their risk of malignant melanoma (skin cancer) by 75 percent.
75 percent. Think about that number.
I worked at a tanning salon for more than 4 years through some of high school and college. Living in Canada, tanning felt so amazing in the winter months and I loved having color on my skin. It was addictive. I never felt "dark enough," and I loved the feeling of laying in a warm tanning bed.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have never tanned in beds, and I never would have told so many people how "healthy" it was for them. I feel disgusted that I used to tell people that tanning was good for their skin and prevented cancer because of the vitamin D you get. I wanted to believe it was true, but it simply isn't. Tanning causes premature aging and melanoma, bottom line.
Now I do know better, and I've never stepped foot into a tanning bed since. I wear sunscreen in the sun (most of the time SPF 30-70, depending on the situation.) I'm so passionate about this issue because I feel the need to "make right" all of the very wrong information I used to "teach" people about indoor tanning.
I have skin cancer checks each year. My skin check for 2009 was today. Basically it involves visiting your dermatologist, stripping down, and having every piece of skin on your body examined for irregularities, moles etc. The dermatologist will take note of any suspicious areas they would like to "watch" (meaning seeing if the mole changes in size, color, etc.)
Ladies, I can't stress this enough- these skin checks are not only important, but can be life-saving. Catching a melanoma early has a much higher survival rate. When it's too advanced, it is just devastating.
So, have you seen your dermatologist for a skin-check this year? If not, please book an appointment as soon as your schedule permits, and make a commitment to yourself, your skin (and your life.)
You can self-check your body and look for these signs to see if you have any suspicious moles:
I truly believe in being proactive about any aspect of your health, not just when it comes to skin cancer. A lot of people hate going to the doctor because they are nervous or embarrassed, but trust me, your doctor has seen and heard much worse than what you're showing or describing to him or her. Much worse.
Though I no longer use tanning beds, I still love to have color on my skin. I switched exclusively to self tanners and haven't looked back! Click here to read about my favorite self tanners.
I saw this postcard on PostSecret last Sunday, and I have to say this: Maybe some people can't take people who use self-tanner seriously, but hey, it's better than frying your skin in the sun all day and risking cancer and wrinkles. I actually respect it more when women choose the bottle over the bed. It shows me they care about their health and their skin.
Thank you to everyone who read this far, I appreciate you taking the time to read about something I'm so passionate about. Please ask your loved ones to have their skin checked too. You could help save someone's life, or your own.
Do you get your skin checked for cancer each year? Are you a converted tanning-bed-a-holic like me?
PS- while at the dermatologist, I also got a prescription for Tazorac for fine lines (a retinol treatment) and also for Latisse. I'm not sure if I'm going to try the Latisse yet. I'd love to but I'm not 100% on it just yet. Have you used it?
PSS- Just to clarify, I still do "lay out" in the sun occasionally in the summer by the pool. I wear SPF, a BIG wide-brimmed hat and BIG sunglasses too. I enjoy the sun, I'm just smart about it, especially when it comes to my face.