7 Bad Myths “I Grew Up With About Getting A Tan” led me to some serious skin problems.
There I sat at the desk looking at my arms. A visit to the dermatologist is not fun. And, actually, this time was pretty easy.
You can see the spots that had been burned off. My arm and hand were burning and stinging.
It just makes me so frustrated that we were allowed to believe it was OK to expose ourselves to the sun. And that tans were healthy!
That is when my other arm started burning. It also had some spots removed.
Those spots that aren’t serious? Well maybe not to you, but right now, I am hurting!
This advice was offered in 1974 in a popular women’s journal. It is what Mom used as a guide for helping manage skin exposure to the sun:
‘If you have “ average ” skin, you can start with 40 minutes on your first day!
On the 2nd day, you can safely lay out in the sun for 45 minutes.
Increase to 50 minutes for the third and fourth days.
This gradual approach builds protection.
Use a protective product and reapply it often …1974.’
In the light of what we know now, this is ludicrous.
So, We Had It Wrong!
So, even respected guidelines were not aware of the dangers of the sun.
When I think about the farmers and ranchers in my part of the world. Their hours in the sun.
After all, you grew up on a cotton farm just south and east of Lubbock, Texas, didn’t you?
All too often we see other people who grew up with this lack of knowledge about how dangerous the sun was. We are walking billboards for a youth spent getting too much sun!
I Thought I Was Getting Tan, Not Skin Cancer
All those years when I was younger, I was going for tan skin. Not what I have now! That isn’t a tan line. Those are skin cancer spots on my arms and hands.
What happened to all that fun in the sun from years gone by. Why did my skin just now start having skin cancers and pre-skin cancer spots? This is part of the deal I will give back.
Why didn’t we wear sun blocking clothing? Why did we think Coppertone had it right? They just wanted to sell their products.
Learning About Sun Blocking Clothing
Why should we care about sun blocking clothing now? For me, wearing clothing that covers my skin is so much easier than keeping up with a sunscreen schedule.
Now, that I know to wear a loosely fitted shirt, not a normal fitted one.
I do both, sunscreen and sun blocking clothing nowadays, and have better checkups.
What Is The Main Cause Of Skin Cancer?
Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.
To lower your risk of getting skin cancer, you can protect your skin from UV rays from the sun. Do not use artificial tanning sources like tanning beds and sunlamps.
Wear sun blocking clothing.
Better Choices For Me And My Family
We aren’t done with winter yet, but it won’t be long.
Before the weather is starting to heat up and the sunny outdoors is beginning to look more attractive, let’s think a little about skin cancer.
How can I avoid adding to the damage I already have? It should be easy enough to be careful because these arms are now so sensitive to the sun.
I am probably only one overexposure away from some serious squamous cancer on my arms and hands. I can’t let that happen. However, we are talking about a lifestyle change.
I will have to grab my sunglasses, sunhat, and loose-fitting long-sleeve shirt before going out the door. I thought that my fun in the sun life would have many more free passes with too much sun exposure.
You can see that didn’t work out!
Bad Myth 1. Tanning Beds Safer Than The Sun
Remember this one? We all believed it. After all that is what “they” said.
Actually, the truth is just the opposite. Artificial forms of sunlight, like tanning beds and sun lamps, are very dangerous.
The kinds of artificial light can emit higher amounts of ultraviolet radiation than the sun, including both UVA and UVB radiation. UV radiation of any type increases your cancer risk.
The more you are exposed to these lights, the more the damage piles up.
This is a high-risk behavior and has no place in our informed world of today.
Using a tanning booth will increase your risk of melanoma. They use unnatural levels of UV light that you’re never exposed to in nature.
Only 1 percent of people diagnosed each year with skin cancer have melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society, but it’s responsible for most skin cancer deaths.
Repeated numbers of exposure in the tanning booths results are being tallied as the members of our society who were addicted to the tanning booths mature.
We will also see much more melanoma from among this group.
Each tanning booth equals many natural sun exposures in the overall damage to the structure of our skin.
Bad Myth 2. Getting A ‘Base Tan’ At A Salon Will Keep Me From Getting Sunburn.
Tanning salons advertise that getting a “controlled” tan in a tanning bed before you go on vacation or at the beginning of the summer protects you.
Getting a base tan will not keep you from getting too much sun. You will be subject to sunburn even with a base tan.
This makes people stay in the sun too long because they think they are burn-proof!
Bad Myth 3. “I Need To Get Out In The Sun Without Sunscreen To Get Vitamin D.”
Many Americans are deficient in vitamin D. Older adults, obese people and people with dark skin are at higher risk of a deficiency.
And it’s true that UV exposure without the protection of sunscreen causes your skin to produce vitamin D.
Vitamin D is important for promoting strong, healthy bones and has even been linked to lower risks of certain types of cancer.
Here is where the lifestyle changes must start. You can get all the sun you need to make your vitamin D in 20 minutes, before 10 AM in the morning. This is a safe thing to do. At this time of the day for 20 minutes.
By noon, 20 minutes of exposure can turn dangerous. You now have the awareness that you must watch the time your skin is in the sun, protected or not. You are the time-keeper.
20 minutes 3 or 4 days a week will give your body the ability to keep the vitamin supplies in your body. Be watchful. Don’t allow your skin to burn.
Taking supplements and vitamin-fortified foods can help those who for some reason don’t use the vitamin D in their bodies as efficiently.
Use both natural exposures for very short times and supplements to ensure you have adequate levels.
Remember to watch your exposure times. All exposure to the sun will add up. You don’t have to get a sunburn to add sun damage to your skin.
Bad Myth 4. After A Long, Dark Winter, You Gotta Have A Little Bit Of Sun Without Sunscreen.
Even in sunny Central Texas, we are ready when the seasons change. Our winter isn’t usually dark and overcast as it is for some. However, we get the urge to enjoy the warm sun too.
Going out into the sun during the time of day that is safer is before 10 AM. And it is not usually warm enough to be comfortable in the mornings. Unprotected sun time is riskier to your skin in the afternoon.
The reason it is risker is that you are more apt to get comfortable and stay longer than you intended.
Research has found that too many people will overdo the sun exposure, and get a mild “blister” or light sunburn. If you are undisciplined enough to get too much sun, you probably need help to monitor safe times.
So while it is tempting to disregard sunscreen, don’t do it. Don’t go out at all, winter or summer without your sunglasses. Remember the sun hat. Yes, you are now aware of what it takes to be safe.
If you are one who is aware and watchful and keeps to safe exposure times, then go ahead. Get your 20 minutes of sun a’la’bare of sunscreen. Have your sun blocking shirt handy and slip it on.
Human Factoring In
That is not that hard to do. Just gotta do it.
Slap on that sunscreen first. Getting a sunburn, even infrequently, boosts your risk of melanoma. Remember melanoma can be deadly.
Occasional sun exposure can really cause a lot of damage. The human factor has entered and people very naturally feel like they haven’t seen the sun all season.
They go on vacation to the beach or the Southwest, and they feel like they want some sun. They feel no need for sun protection because it is winter. And they get fried. Humans are often self-destructive.
Bad Myth 5. It’s OK To Use The Tanning Salon Occasionaly.
So you just are still not convinced? You want to go to a tanning salon. Just this one time to get that sun-kissed look for a special event?
Skip it, researchers say.
According to a systematic review of research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer:
Any use of a tanning bed before you reach the age of 35 is associated with a 75 percent increase in risk for melanoma! People, that is a big jump in risk factor.
The reviewers also identified an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma, one of the most common types of skin cancer, from tanning bed use before your mid-30s.
The increase in risk from even limited use of tanning beds is impressive and disturbing. Each time is hugely damaging.
There is a growing body of evidence supporting the idea that tanning has an addictive quality.
Exposure to UV releases endorphins, the “pleasure chemical” of the human body that stimulates the brain’s reward center. But that rush can be dangerous.
Some people who are prone to addictive behavior are also prone to suntanning for the same reasons. Research suggests some of the same help for tanning addiction as for drugs or alcohol. Are you a tan addict?
Bad Myth 6. I’m Know I Am Using My Sunscreen Correctly.
Are you sure?
Research shows that it’s pretty common that people don’t re-apply sunscreen frequently enough. I think most people just put on sunscreen early in the day.
That is a great start, but really you should reapply every two hours if you’re out in the sun. Oftener when swimming or sweating a lot. Sunscreen can be water-resistant, not waterproof.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends applying a thick layer of broad-spectrum sunscreen. of at least SPF 15 before going outside, even on cloudy or cool days. Suns
Now, according to the CDC, sunscreen can be as low as 15. That offers little protection to your skin from aging or too much sun.
This has been the standard since the time all this bad advice started. (1974) Several years ago we had much more Ozone to help filter out the sun’s harmful rays.
We don’t have those anymore. Even though Central Texas doesn’t have the extra thin ozone over us as Australia and several more parts of the world, we have less.
When this standard was set, a protection of 15 was thought to be good. Now with time and the ability to research so much more information, science tells us that we need to use at least a wide spectrum of SPF 30.
My dermatologist says that the 30 is necessary. While using sunscreen alone will prevent skin cancer, adding sun blocking clothing will allow you to stay safer.
Bad Myth 7. Skin Cancer? Not That Big Of A Deal!
While it is true that the most common types of skin cancers are not as deadly as most other forms of cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, 9 million people will be diagnosed with the two most common types of skin cancer each year.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. These are the two that are usually found on people’s heads, arms, faces, ears. Also, arms, remember the selfie I shared at the start of this article?
It is also true that only a few will die from these cancers. The U.S. records about 2,000 deaths from these two cancer types every year.
Let’s look at a comparison, the biggest cancer killer in the U.S. Yes, lung cancer takes the lives of more than 150,000 Americans a year.
It is more dangerous to smoke than to get too much sun. Are you going to allow your kids to smoke when they are young? Remember, this is a chosen behavior, and once was considered so cool!
Now we know better. Skin cancer should not show up on our bodies. Will you be proactive and take better of your skin. Your family’s skin? Awareness starts here!
Bad Myth 8. Skin Cancer Won’t Kill Me
While the most common skin cancers aren’t as deadly as other malignancies, they can affect your quality of life.
Skin cancers will have a significant impact even if they don’t kill you. Research is finding out more about the destruction skin cancer causes. And treating this cancer is becoming more expensive.
In short, research is proving that the best practice is just to take steps to prevent Sun Damage To Your Skin. Prevent skin cancers. Don’t run the risk.
Skin Cancer: 7 Bad Myths “I Grew Up With About Getting A Tan”
This year, millions of Americans will get skin cancer. And thousands will die from it. This doesn’t have to include you. Everyone can take steps to lower their risk.
Unfortunately, our skin cancer experts warn us, the past damage can’t be undone. Your past-times of getting sunburn have left traces in your skin and you will soon see the signs of too much sun.
We can no longer allow ourselves to be irresponsible with our skin.
Have you heard any of these skin-cancer untruths? Check your knowledge and protect yourself.
Bad Myths Will You Allow Them To Live On?
Tanning booths are safer than the natural sun Bad Myth 1 .
Getting a base tan at a salon will keep you from sunburn. Bad Myth 2
I can’t protect my skin because I need sun to make vitamin D Bad Myth 3
After the dark cold winter, you have to have sun on your skin. Bad Myth 4
It really won’t hurt to use the tanning booth occasionally. Bad Myth 5
I know that I am using my sunscreen correctly. Bad Myth 6
Skin Cancer isn’t that big of a deal. Bad Myth 7
Skin Cancer won’t kill me. Bad Myth 8
There are so many harmful myths floating around about about protecting your skin. It’s hard to know which ones to tackle first.
Do not, under any circumstance, use a tanning bed or a tanning lamp. And if you already have, don’t use them anymore.
Remember that it’s legal for teenagers in most parts of the country. This is the starting place for danger for so many young people. Make sure to watch out for your family.
Can You Be A Skin Protection From The Sun Advocate?
Helping your family build safe sun habits is a worthwhile effort.
Modeling good safe behavior yourself makes it easier to help others learn. Making lifestyle changes often requires changes in lifestyle. However, for the protection, is worthwhile.
Don’t give up and declair it useless to even try. You will make progress, and having skin that is safer from sun caused skin cancer will be a great payoff for you and your family.
Start with making sure you are aware of when your family is in the sun. How long they are in the sun is important too.
As a family, you can build better habits.
Sami’s Take On 7 Bad Myths “I Grew Up With About Getting A Tan”
Learning that you have a skin cancer is humbling. You realize that some of the guidelines you have had were not true.
Now that tan you wanted all your life is not so attractive. The danger was more than you realized.
You can’t start over, although it would be nice. What you can do is improve your daily routine. Change from getting out in the more direct sun with unprotected skin.
You can wear your sunglasses, your sun hat. Add a sun blocking long sleeve shirt. Just go at it one habit at a time.
You may not be able to undo all the damage, but you can quit adding to the total.
You can teach your kids to take better care of their skin. Protect it from the sun.
Help your spouse to make sure they have their sunglasses and sun hat. Get playground proof sunglasses for the kids. Change outside times to the safer times of the day.
Everytime you change one habit, your are building a stronger foundations for a healthy life. Less skin cancer.
Make a plan and move forward. Make yourself be aware of when you are in a position for too much sun. Become aware of the shady spots. Use them
You can have some fun in the sun and be safe. It just takes a bit of adjustment.