I am an extremely pale person, so when summer comes around, tanning is definitely not what you'll find me doing. Thank you very much, but I'll be sitting under the shade of a maple tree trying not to be burned by the giant death ball in the sky. Tanning has been so common that it has practically become a beauty fad, but tanning has been proven to be especially bad for your skin. With recent developments in research, tanning increasingly appears to be more threatening than previously believed.
The whole trend of tanning for beauty purposes was really brought to light by Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, the French Fashion designer and overall trendsetter. Chanel brought the trend to life when a group of photographers snapped a photo of her after a trip to the Mediterranean, and absolutely loved how her skin glowed. From there, the trend took off to where it is today, viewed as a beauty standard. But for me, I can't tan. From a young age I've been told to lather on sunscreen, so I don't feel like absolute death after a day at the pool. And since I've had to wear sunscreen for so many years, I've realized that to teens, sunscreen is not considered 'cool'. Yeah, a lotion that exists to protect you makes you a loser, sure. High schoolers would just rather burn; I've noticed when I offer some sunscreen, they often shake their head in disgust. And granted, most people might think they don't need sunscreen because they naturally have darker skin. However, anyone, and I mean ANYONE regardless of skin color can get sunburned. This is because even though people with darker skin have more melanin in their body (melanin is a protein that darkens the skin and hair), they still only have a natural SPF of approximately 12, compared to the 3 of paler people. This means that they are still able to get a sunburn, which greatly raises the chance of getting skin cancer.
Everyone has heard that not putting on sunscreen can give you skin cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, "Getting sunburn, just once every 2 years, can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer... Sunburn doesn’t have to be raw, peeling or blistering. If your skin has gone pink or red in the sun, it’s sunburnt. For people with darker skin, it may just feel irritated, tender or itchy". For those who are unaware, melanoma skin cancer is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and one person dies every hour due to melanoma (Skin Cancer Foundation). To go along with this fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation also has done studies that states 419,000 cases of skin cancer (6,200 being melanomas) are diagnosed each year attached to indoor tanning. If that's just indoor tanning, think about all the cases for outdoor tanning as well! In all, more people develop skin cancer from tanning, than lung cancer from smoking (Skin Cancer Foundation), a horrible statistic considering how little skin cancer is discussed in the media. Wether you have dark skin or light skin, use sunscreen to protect your skin, it might be life or death! And be sure to tell family and friends about the importance of sunscreen as well.
To learn more about Skin Cancer go to www.skincancer.org