I was listening to a discussion on the radio about what people would do differently if they could go back to their youth, knowing what they know now. One woman was saying how "hair products" could have changed the course of her life. I had good hair but was constantly trying to force my fair skin to be something it wasn't.....tan! There were many, many sunburns that I suffered with during my teens (I always smelled like vinegar which I don't think really helped!). Yes I am sure that those years of irresponsible outdoor sunbathing ("I always burn first" mentality) contributed to my skin problems later in life.
In my mid 20's I did become more responsible with sunscreen, especially after having a redheaded baby, and only burned a few times a season, with limited sun exposure.
In my early 30's is where the real problems started....with an indoor tanning bed. We were all convinced that it was the "safe" way to tan and although you can gradually build up a tan without burning, we were clueless to how powerful and harmful those UV rays really are. The first Trim Up had its own tanning bed and I used it pretty much year round for about 7 years. It is very addicting...feeling the warmth as you doze off for a nice 20 minute cat nap....and the body actually releases endorphins during the tanning sessions that can get you hooked.
My first basal cell skin cancer was removed in my late 30's but I continued to tan
(I'm telling you, its addicting!) however I did begin using some of the self-tanning
creams that had just come out to supplement and only tanned in the spring/summer.
My 40's were spent in and out of the dermatologist's office with probably a dozen more skin cancer surgeries and several non-surgical treatments that were not very pleasant. The cancers have been expensive to treat and have left noticeable scarring. I was fortunate that my skin cancer was treatable but there are more and more cases of melanoma being reported and at younger ages. My sister-in-law died from melanoma a few years ago which was heartbreaking. Not everyone will develop cancer from tanning but one thing is certain - tanning is risky business and at the very least will cause premature aging of skin (thankfully I had enough sense to always cover my face while tanning).
My 50's have started with regular preventative light treatments that stop abnormal cancer cells from forming and that seems to be working. I always find shade when outdoors for more than an hour, wear sunscreen EVERY DAY but have the best tan I've ever had.....thanks to Mystic Spray Tanning!
We should all be aware of the dangers of indoor tanning (it has been proven that UV tanning can cause skin cancer)but it is amazing to me that children are allowed to tan and even more amazing that parents let their kids tan! I hope that one day soon this issue will receive as much recognition as cigarette smoking for being a health risk and that kids under 18 will be protected. Responsible parents would never buy their child cigarettes and let them smoke and I don't see how UV tanning is any different.
Sunbathing and indoor UV tanning is NOT WORTH IT.....pass it on!!!