Fashion and pop culture magazines are the benchmark for which young women and teens tend to base their looks. They often ask themselves: do I measure up? Is my hair shiny enough? My lips full enough? Am I tan enough? This last one is of major concern to young women’s health.
According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, almost 90% of melanomas are caused by UV light and sunlight. This includes tanning beds as well as overexposure to the sun. Kids who spend a lot of time at the beach or outdoors and get burned are at greater risk. Just one blistering sunburn at a young age can double your chances of getting skin cancer.
Prom season is a booming time for tanning salons with young girls flocking to get that sun-kissed look for one of the biggest days in their high school lives. Since the 1980’s, the tanning industry has skyrocketed to almost 28 million users, many of which are young women. In fact, the rise in use has directly correlated with the rise in skin cancer diagnoses.
So many young women tan to look ‘healthy’ when in fact it can be a killer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified tanning beds as carcinogenic to humans. The incidence of melanoma in white non-Hispanics has increased from 8.7 per 100,000 in 1975 to 28 per 100,000 in 2009. Furthermore, melanoma rates in girls and women aged 15-39 increased 3.6% from 1992-2006. The research is irrefutable: skin cancer is caused by tanning.
The tanning industry as a whole tries to sell their service under the guise of providing necessary vitamin D boosts everyone needs, especially those in northern climates. But the fact is, the rays emitted by tanning beds are primarily UVA rays and it is the UVB that provides the mineral vitamin D.
So what can you do to protect yourself, your daughter or granddaughter from falling into one of these statistics?
If you do have to be out in the sun for any length of time beyond 15 minutes, protect yourself. Use sunblock, wear long pants and sleeves and adding a wide brimmed hat can help keep the sun off your face and neck. Be smart and don’t get burned; the consequences could be way more painful than a sunburn.
Taking care of your skin is essential to a long, healthy life. Young women need to take heed to the warnings of too much sun and getting blistering sunburns in the name of looking good. There are plenty of sunblock options on the market, lotions of all types. If you are really desperate for that sun tanned look, you can always use a self tanning lotion over a period of time to achieve the desired effect.
Cheryl Lee MD has a wide selection of products from which you can choose that best serves your needs. For any kind of skin inflammation, the best product is the Post-Procedure and Inflammation Kit which helps aid the healing process. This works for burns as well, working to restore the skin natural hydration and sealing out irritants.
Protect yourself and your loved ones.