To begin, I would just like to point out that most all of the information that I dig up in these posts have a source. You can learn a whole hunk of information about Melanoma by visiting the Melanoma Research Foundations website http://www.melanoma.org/. Many of the facts and data that I pour into these posts comes from the very lengthy annual report that the foundation puts out about their research.
The fact is that in the U.S. in 1940 your chances of getting Melanoma in your lifetime was about 1 in 1500. As of 2010, that number has dramatically increased to 1 in 50. Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States and worldwide. When it comes to the color tone of our skin, the trend of our culture towards the “darker is more beautiful” concept is turning out to be a deadly one. This obsession has led all of us to doing what we humans do best, make excuses and intetionally ignore the ramifications of our choices. Hopefully, outlining some of these excuses and placing them side by side with actual facts will be helpful to look at.
Excuse #1– It’s Cloudy out, I don’t need to wear sunscreen.
FACT– Even on a cloudy day, 80% of the suns ultraviolet rays pass through the clouds. Overcast skies can lead to tans or nasty burns just because your not expecting it.
Excuse #2– My skin tans more than it burns, so I should be fine.
FACT– Tanning the skin is not healthy or healthier. Tanning (outdoors or indoors) is causing permanent damage to skin. The golden tone to your skin is a result of injury to your epidermis, which is the top layer of your skin. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays accelerates the effects of aging and increases your risk for developing skin cancer.
Excuse #3– If I haven’t got skin cancer or Melanoma by now, I’ll probably never get it. After all, it is a young person’s disease isn’t it?
FACT– Melanoma is the most common cancer in men over the age of 50. That’s in front of colon, prostate, and lung cancer. It can develop on anyone- no matter their age, sex, or race.
Excuse #4– I need to make sure I’m getting my Vitamin D
FACT-Don’t get conned by tanning salons’ talk about vitamin D and a “healthy glow.” You can get all the vitamin D you need from a healthy diet or vitamin supplement (that won’t give you cancer). The truth is you receive 4-7 times the amount of UV radiation needed for vitamin D production in one 20-minute tanning session.
Excuse #5– I need a healthy glow
FACT– There’s a difference between “need” and “want”. If your that set on getting a healthy glow, spray it on. It’s healthier.
Excuse #6– I find it cheaper to just go the tanning bed or lay out than to buy the spray on stuff…or…going to a dermatologist is just TOO expensive.
FACT– Melanoma is EXPENSIVE. In the words of good ol’ LeVar Burton
…and Exposure to tanning beds before the age of 30 increases a person’s risk of developing Melanoma by a whopping 75%!!! Younger people who regularly use tanning beds are 8 times more likely to develop Melanoma than people who have never used them. Occasional use of tanning beds triples their chances.
Excuse #7– I have more freckles than I do moles and I do a good job at keeping track of my own.
FACT– Freckles are usually found on sun-exposed areas of the body. They’re more noticeable in the summer, especially among fair-skinned people and those with light or red hair. A lot of skin cancers in the earliest stages resemble a freckle. It’s great that you keep track of your own skin but go to a dermatologist and get checked out regularly, because more than likely, you do not have a Ph.D. in dermatology.
Excuse #8– I hate sunscreen. It’s too messy to reapply it when I’m sandy and sticky at the beach and when I sweat, the stuff just run into my eyes.
FACT– I hate it too, and I have Melanoma!! If you have to be out in the sun, the best way to protect your skin from both UVB and UVA rays besides protective clothing is to put on sunscreen. But be aware that most sunscreens are NOT effective until 30 minutes after application. The key ingredient in most sunscreens is para-aminobenzoic acid, which protects the skin by absorbing the Ultraviolet light. It needs time to bind to the skin to be fully effective. But putting suncreen on does not make you bulletproof. Very often I hear people say, “Well I put sunscreen on.” But if we don’t avoid excessive sunlight, especially during peak hours of the day, the sunscreen is nothing but a temporary barrier that soon vanishes and leaves are skin to damage itself.
Excuse #9 (Parents)- It’s too much of an irritating inconvenience to put it on myself, let alone make sure my own kids are wearing it.
FACT– It takes only one blistering sunburn, especially at a young age, to more than double a peson’s chance of developing Melanoma later in life. Children under the age of 6 months have very sensitive skin, and sunscreens are potentially irritating to them. They are better protected by staying out of the sun, seeking shade, avoiding peak hours of sunlight, and using protective clothing such as hats and long sleeves.
Future posts: Indoor tanning
My Contribution in Life…not Melanoma
In pursuit of Him,