Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tanning

 I'm going to stand on my soapbox for a minute. 

I saw this on a car at a stoplight on my way home yesterday. If you can't read that, it says:

"Get Your Vitamin D. Go Tanning." 


I wanted to get out of my car, tap on that girl's window and tell her all of the statistics about skin cancer...from a girl who used to tan so much that she looked purple in photos. 

Case in point:


Gross, right? And not only gross, expensive. 

I grew up in a small town in East Texas that, God bless it, is a little behind the times. Girls still do those skunk-like highlights, do-do curls and...tan. A lot. So I grew up tanning. Well, when my mom would let me, like before prom. 

I got so mad at my mom for only letting me tan two or three times a week leading up to prom. She told me it was bad for me, but I didn't listen. I just wanted to be tan. 

And if you know me, you know that I am truly my father's child with my pale skin and freckles. I can tan, but only after I burn really badly and keep on tanning. 

So I kept doing it. All through high school and my first two years of college. I would even lie about tanning to my mom {when it was clearly obvious that I had!} because I knew it was wrong and knew I shouldn't be doing it. But I just wanted to be tan, because to me, tan was beautiful. 

A girl in my high school {who shall remain nameless} said to me once, "Tan fat is prettier than white fat." I don't know why that stuck with me, but it did. So I tanned to get that "fat" tanner. Because it was prettier, right?

Keep in mind that through all of this, my dad was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Totally unrelated to skin cancer, but it still scared me. A lot. Especially when I went to M.D. Anderson with he and my mom for one of his appointments when I was home from college from Christmas break one year. Seeing the way my dad looked coming out of giving bone marrow...coupled with the Grey's Anatomy episode where Izzie died because of a brain tumor that developed from metastatic melanoma...did it for me. 

I was done tanning. 

I stopped, cold turkey. I haven't gone in a tanning bed since, and I never will again. 

After my declaration of "No! More! Tanning!", my would-be sister-in-law had moles removed that were caused by sun exposure right before her wedding. She was so upset that she'd have a giant scar across her back that would show in her wedding dress. 

Then, my cousin Rebecca had spots moved and has a nasty scar on her back. 

My aunt has had a crazy amount of moles removed. 

My husband had a spot removed. 

I was done. 

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And not to beat a dead horse, but here are some statistics:

-Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. 

-About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun. 

-Those who make four visits to a tanning salon per year can increase their risk of melanoma by 11 percent, and their risk of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma by 15 percent. 

-People who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. 

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So please, please, please remember to wear sunscreen when you're in the sun {and on your face EVEN if you're wearing make-up}, get checked head-to-toe by your doctor for any moles or suspicious bumps on your skin, and by all means, DO NOT TAN IN A TANNING BED! 

Pale is beautiful...all the movie stars are! Why, you ask? Because you don't get wrinkles.

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Okay, I'm off my soapbox now.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE!! the only fake bake I get is now is compliments of a spray tan :) I had three spots removed about 2 months ago and it scared me. I am embracing my pasty pale self and when I just can't do it turning to sprays.

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