Who doesn’t want to show up to their Independence Day celebration sporting a bronze glow? Unfortunately, many people put themselves at risk -- or even develop skin cancer -- because they want to look tanner for social events. So how can you get a glow safely and without the risk of skin cancer? We’ll tell you.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the United States, with over 9,500 people diagnosed with skin cancer every day. Worse, two people die of skin cancer every hour! The primary cause of skin cancer has remained the same for decades: excess exposure to UV light.
Many people think that if they only tan infrequently, they’re safe from developing skin cancer. But it only takes one blistering sunburn -- even in childhood -- to develop skin cancer later on. Whether from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays or artificial sources like tanning beds and booths, tanning always involves putting yourself at risk of skin cancer. If you do expose yourself to the sun, wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 to 50 as well as protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat. People with fair skin, light eyes, and red or blonde hair tend to be more at risk than others for developing skin cancer.
Skin cancer signs include new spots on the skin or moles that change in their size, shape, color, or border. Sometimes there are no visible signs of skin cancer, while other times, a noticeable lump forms on the surface of the skin. If you notice any changes in moles or acquire new spots on the skin, it’s a good idea to get a skin cancer screening as soon as possible. Skin cancer types include melanoma, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Since the effectiveness of skin cancer treatment relies heavily on early detection, you should always check your body for any changes that could indicate early signs of skin cancer.
So now that you know the risks of skin cancer, it should be clear that any type of tanning is unhealthy for the skin, except artificial tanning. These surface-level tans work as tints, like semi-permanent makeup, to give your skin a sun-kissed glow without exposure to UV light.
Try a self-tanning spray or lotion, which is found at drug stores or from cosmetic brands. There are a variety of different self-tanning formulas out there. Some go on more smoothly and evenly than others, and they all tend to have different smells, so read reviews and try a few out to find one you like. It’s a good idea to exfoliate the skin beforehand so that the tanning product goes on more smoothly. There are even exfoliating gloves that can be used to slough off dead skin cells. Shave or wax at least 24 hours before self-tanner application -- enough time to allow the hair follicles to close so that they don’t become irritated.
Another option is to get a professional spray tan, which may be slightly more costly per application but doesn’t require you to apply the formula yourself. Some spray tans go on bronze, while others go on clear and then process over the next day to gradually turn darker. A professional can advise you which to use.
Need your yearly skin cancer screening? If you’re in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, contact The Dermatology Group today for an appointment.