Tanning Ups Your Risk of Skin Cancer

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Tanning Ups Your Risk of Skin Cancer

Tanning is one of those things that a lot of us grew up with and saw nothing wrong with it. After all, a sun-kissed look makes one look and feel more attractive than looking pale and unhealthy, right? Unfortunately, it has become increasingly clear over time that sun exposure is one of those things that needs to be carefully managed. Most experts now advise against tanning outside and especially in tanning beds. This chafes against the sensibilities of those of us who grew up with tanning and passed it along to those younger than us. After all, it doesn’t seem to have done any harm to us. The truth is that the effects of tanning are long term and can end up resulting in skin cancer decades later. Just because you can’t see the problem doesn’t mean that tanning isn’t giving you trouble. With that in mind, we’re going to take a closer look at why tanning is bad for you, its links to cancer, and your options to get a healthy look without risking your health.

The Hidden Risks of Tanning
We all know the sunburn is a very real risk for anyone who likes to tan. Who hasn’t accidentally stayed out too long and gotten a little burnt? It is one of the things most of us accept as being regular part of being out in the sun. The risk going up while we tan is easy to forget in the face of that. Sunburn isn’t the only kind of sun damage you can get though. Those tans we covet so much are a sign substantial of sun damage. Most people’s skin produces more pigmentation, melanin in humans, in response to sun damage. The melanin’s job is to protect your skin, but production only goes up as a response to damage. That means having a tan is frequently just as unhealthy as being pale. It is simply a matter of how long term the effects will be. Exposure to UV rays damages the cells in your body and causes replication issues that can eventually lead to cancer. The risk is even higher with tanning beds. Tanning isn’t your friend.

Unwelcome Connections
Cancer of any sort is a singular experience for many people. The word is enough to make most of us constantly worry and wonder about our health and how secretly damaged it is. Skin cancer is easier to catch and stay ahead of if you’re willing to make the effort. Melanoma is the worst kind of skin cancer, but there are plenty of others. Most of them can be detected by you in your own home with a monthly self-check. Anyone with breasts is already familiar with a regular self-check for breast cancer. Skin checks are similar in purpose and just as easy. All you really needs is a full-length mirror to be able to examine your body in private. A trusted friend or family member can also help with the check. The key to catching skin cancer is to look for new or changing moles and spots on the body. Most moles will be done forming by your early 30s and any new ones after that should be treated with suspicion. If the mole is weirdly shaped, has uneven color, grows at all, or in other ways changes between checks, then you should talk to a dermatologist to have it checked.

Woman in shades

Staying Cool, Staying Tanned
The risk of cancer shouldn’t stop us from pursuing a tanned look if we like it. Spray tans, sunless tanning lotions, and other options all exist to help us get the look without ever having to spend too much time out in the sun. Yes, most of these options have a bad reputation, but that reputation is at least a decade out of date as any product of sufficient quality tends to look perfectly natural these days. This is particularly true for sunless tanning lotion that gradually builds up towards giving you the look you desire. It helps to contribute to an overall natural look of gradually tanning to the desired level. Spray tans tend to be a lot faster, but need to be touched up every week to two weeks to keep them looking their best. Makeup is useful for a temporarily tanned look too. Researching your options will ensure you can find plenty of ways to look tanned all without spending time outside or in a tanning bed.

Avoiding damage from UV rays is simple. Wear sunscreen and avoid being outside for too long without remembering to reapply your sunscreen. Additionally, avoid tanning beds if you value your skin at all because the level of UV exposure in then is even greater than tanning outdoors. Avoiding tanning will help reduce your chances of skin cancer. You can still get the look with sunless tanning options! All it takes is making the effort to focus on your skin’s health and dedicating yourself to avoiding bad habits.

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