As summer approaches, tanning salons become the popular choice for anyone searching for that “healthy glow.” With sometimes outlandish claims that the benefits of Vitamin D absorption from a tanning bed far outweigh the risks of tanning, tanners ignore the fact that the sun’s penetrating rays can also harm their skin.
Though medical professionals warn patients about skin damage, the tanning industry continues to reap huge rewards from consumers whose only concern is for immediate gratification. Most people give little, if any, thought to the possibility of getting skin cancer despite the growing evidence that too much exposure to the sun can lead to a malignant form of skin cancer, melanoma.
Important News from the National Cancer Institute
The National Cancer Institute claims that, “Long-term exposure to artificial sources of ultraviolet rays like tanning beds (or to the sun’s natural rays) increases both men and women’s risk of developing skin cancer. In addition, exposure to tanning salon rays increases damage caused by sunlight because ultraviolet light actually thins the skin, making it less able to heal. Women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55 percent more likely to develop malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer (emphasis mine).”
Too many sun worshippers are so focused on serving their immediate short-term desires that they ignore the long-term consequences of their actions.
Important News from the Skin Cancer Foundation
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Every year skin cancer afflicts more people than do incidents of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined.
The Importance of Prevention
Cancer specialists understand the importance of prevention and warn of overexposure to the sun or to artificial tanning. Radiology oncologists now discuss with their patients the effects radiation will have on their skin. A patient who has undergone radiation is told to stay out of the sun for a full year following radiation due to the skin’s sensitivity from radiation. Doctors advise their patients to purchase sun-protective clothing or products they can put into their washing machine to prevent the sun’s penetrating rays from being absorbed into the clothing they already own.
Protect Your Clothes With SunGuard
SunGuard, a laundry aid that prevents the sun’s harmful rays from penetrating clothes for up to 20 washes, provides a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 30, and it helps block 96% of the sun’s harmful rays. Similar to SPF ratings for sunscreen, UPF measures the fabric’s capability of preventing harmful UV rays from reaching your skin. When you combine SunGuard protection with sun screen, your skin will benefit even more.
Though SunGuard won’t help acrylic or polyester fabrics, it will work on cotton, linen, rayon, and silk. SunGuard is available through their web site at SunGuard Sun Protection (click on the link) or by calling 1-866-871-3157.
Protect Your Skin With Specially Treated Clothing
Specially treated clothing offers another defense against the sun’s harmful rays. One website, Coolibar (UPF 50+), recommended by radiology oncologists, carries clothing certified to block 98% of the sun’s rays.
Another website, Sun Precautions carries the Solumbra line of skin protective clothing, which promises to block more than 97% of UVA and UVB rays.
Even L.L. Bean offers sun protective clothing with their SunSmart line.
The Most Important Product To Wear Outdoors
All dermatologists agree that sunblock is the number one product you should wear when going outdoors. Numerous sunblock creams of varying costs line the shelves in supermarkets. ConsumerSearch rates Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55 as the best sunscreen available. No-Ad Sunblock Lotion SPF 45 is the best inexpensive sunscreen, and Blue Lizard Suncream Sensitive SPF 30+ is the best sunscreen for sensitive skin and for babies. For the best sport-formula sunscreen, they recommend Banana Boat Sport Performance Dri-Blok Sunblock Lotion SPF 30.
Better Ways to Achieve a Healthy Glow
ConsumerSearch rates Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel as the best sunless tanner, Jergens Natural Glow Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer as the best sunless tanning lotion/moisturizer, and L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Pro Perfect Self Tanning Mist as the best at-home tanning spray. Tan Towel Self-Tan Towelettes are the best tanning wipes, and Mystic Tan UV-Free Spray-On Tanning is the best professional spray tan.
Your skin is your largest organ and it covers your entire body. Protecting it should be one of your highest priorities. You will carry it with you for the rest of your life. If your short term goal is to look like you have a great tan this weekend, consider that the long-term result might be skin so leathery, no lotion will disguise deep-lined wrinkles, or worse, a malignant form of skin cancer – melanoma.