It’s a life or death choice, you decide.
It truly comes down to that very question when you make a conscious effort to step into a tanning bed or lounge on a beach to obtain an artificial look that could ultimately cost you your life.
Melanoma and non-melanoma are the most common types of cancer, accounting for over one-third of all new cancer cases in Canada.
One major sunburn as a child is all its takes to increase a person’s risk of getting melanoma cancer later in life.
I wanted to speak on this issue because it hits near and dear to my heart as I have had to endure a friend go through treatments to rid herself of melanoma agents on her arm and leg.
My best friend, Caitlin and I would often spend our days soaking up the sun at the local beach back in Ontario – we would spend hours baking under the summer’s sun without a care in the world other then our obsession to have a golden glow.
Last year she struggled with expressing the news of her diagnoses to family and friends, hesitant to take on emotional stresses other than her own.
Having gone through that experience with her, not only Caitlin, but also myself have been taking the necessary precautions when out in the sun and battling the rays.
Some would assume that one application of sunscreen is enough to protect your skin against the day’s sun.
Sunscreen, depending on its SPF (sun protection factor), should be applied every hour when in the sun for prolonged periods of time.
Also, take into factor that you may be in and out of the water or sweating when outdoors, so using a waterproof sunscreen will suffice to limit the reapplication process.
Speaking from experience, I would often use tanning oils to enhance my outdoor tanning experience.
I would come home after a day spent in the sun looking like a lobster with no concern to the harm I was causing to my epidermis, the protective outer layers of my skin.
I know that may sound technical, but the epidermis is what protects your organs from harmful everyday elements that you come into contact with.
Once the outer epidermis is compromised, your inner epidermis is more susceptible to developing melanoma or other cancerous agents.
A healthy option, if you must have the golden glow, is sunless tanning products.
If you’re going to buy your way into a superficial image, go the safe route and purchase a tan in a bottle rather then putting yourself at risk.
Caitlin has been treated for her melanoma and it has been removed with no evident symptoms of its return.
Now a strong voice behind safe tanning and making those who continue to tan aware of its risks, Caitlin makes it a point to tell her story to those who stand by “it would never happen to me.”
In Canada, Saskatchewan has adopted regulations that address the use of artificial tanning equipment.
Ontario is currently developing a policy, which would ban minors from tanning without the consent of an adult before stepping into a tanning salon.
Be prepared to fight against harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays this summer for it could be your last.