Be Healthy Tanning: Tips for Preventing Skin Cancer
Tanning has been in the media recently, including criticisms of an H&M bathing suit advertisement and an extremely tan mom who allegedly brought her daughter — who got burned — to a tanning salon. While a tan can look attractive, it is not worth the health risks. Instead of tanning, Pink and Black Beauty Intern Angela Vertucci has safe suggestions for how to get sun-kissed skin without the damage.
Skin cancer is a serious effect of tanning and exposure to UV rays. According to the Skin Care Foundation, 3.5 million patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer each year (including two teens who tell their powerful stories in Seventeen Magazine) — though, the disease is rarely deadly if it is discovered early. For an overview of what skin cancer is, check out this video from the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Skin cancer is an extremely preventable disease. The Skin Cancer Foundation advises self-examinations once a month. Beforehand, it can be valuable to have an examination by a doctor to ensure that the marks on the skin — such as moles and freckles — are healthy. While performing the self-examination, take note of growths that change in size, color, shape, or any other way. Also, bleeding and itching are causes for concern. If you notice changes, see a doctor as soon as possible. It is important to practice the self-examination in the winter and spring as much as the summer in order to increase the likelihood of early detection.
In addition to self-examinations, the Skin Cancer Foundation has compiled a list of preventative tips. The foundation recommends seeking shade, covering the body with clothing, avoiding being in the sun for extended amounts of time, and wearing at least SPF 15 sunscreen and applying it 30 minutes before exposure. Pink and Black Health Intern Erica Palumbo covered the importance of sunscreen and its application here.
Heading to the beach this summer? The Skin Cancer Foundation has you covered. The foundation suggests applying sunscreen before you put on your swimsuit in order to cover and protect all areas of the body and re-applying every two hours.
Skin cancer is a preventable disease — sun protection and regular self-examinations are essential for optimal skin health.