January 23, 2008

sun goddess - WARNING

i am leaving on vacation in 9 days, and to prepare myself, i've been tanning at the electric beach. today i have learned some very eye-opening and frightening facts. i will not be using the remainder of my tanning sessions, even though i am disappointed in wasting that money. i fully admit that i was naive and under-educated. after a lengthy google-chat with my beauty consultant (Katie), i learned some life-long lessons.
1. no tan is good (unless its from lotion or bronzer)
2. UVA rays (from the sun or tanning beds) are very harmful to your deeper layers of skin. they cause irreversible damage to your skins DNA (yes, I said DNA) and are the biggest culprit of skin cancers.
3. UVB rays are the ones that burn your skin, but this isn't the major concern when it comes to skin cancer. it's the long-term affects of being repeatedly exposed to the sun and UV rays that cause the most problems.
4. most tanning salons tout that you cannot be burned by their high-pressure beds, which filter out almost all of the UVB rays. I was falsely comforted by this fact. It is true that you do not get burned in these beds, however these beds produce deeper, more long-term effects that you may not be aware of, certainly not immediately.
5. i was also under the impression that having a base-tan before going somewhere tropical was a good idea. actually, a base-tan gives us the idea that we are some-how protected from the suns damaging effects. not true. although we may not burn as easily with a base-tan, having tanned before vacation compounds our susceptibility to the harms of UV rays.
6. beyond the risk of skin cancers, tanning also produces leathery skin, wrinkles, sun-spots, freckles, and skin discoloration.
7. tanning is a known carcinogen...just like tabacco.

All of my information came from WebMD.com and the American Cancer Society's website.
Below is a very telling excerpt from an article on WebMD:

"Skin cancer comes from a mutation of DNA in the skin cells. A sunburn is not a sign you have mutated the DNA. It is very possible to damage your skin without a burn," Levine says. "It is the UVB radiation that is more likely to cause a sunburn, and UVA -- used in most sun beds -- causes deeper skin damage leading to skin cancer. And there are these new high-pressure UVA beds that give an amount of UVA far exceeding that of sunlight."

Until recently, it was thought that sun exposure caused relatively minor skin cancers but not deadly melanoma. Levine and colleagues say that this new evidence strongly implicates sun exposure -- and indoor tanning -- as a cause of melanoma."

Be safe people...and I hope this helps educate you, as well.


Anonymous said...

You might feel more comfortable occasionally tanning if you understood that moderate exposure to UV light protects against 16 kinds of Cancer. It cuts the odds of getting breast cancer in half! Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic in the US. A single session in a tanning bed will process 15,000 IUs of healthy vitamin D3.

Just because a few people drown every year is not a good reason to stop drinking water. That, too, would be an unreasonable fear.

The health benefits of moderate exposure to UV light are being revealed in new medical studies every month. Hiding from the sun and tanning beds is fast becoming an old wife's tale.

Don't sunburn. Don't overdue it. And don't hide from UV light. Like most good things in life, moderation is the key.

Angie said...

Anonymous, thank you for your insight. I greatly appreciate your readership and comments. However, I did a little digging based on your information. What I found actually contradicts some of your thoughts - sorry. I do feel that my readers have a right to know the truth, though.
I found that Vitamin D is an essential part to our health, and can in-fact help reduce the risk of some types of cancers. However, we do not need much exposure to sunlight to get the Vitamin D we need, and tanning beds filter out most of the UVB rays, which metabolize Vitamin D.
Here are a couple of articles that explain why tanning beds are not a good source of Vitamin D.

Ben said...

Way to go, Angie.