Beauty Redefined Blog

Dying for A Tan

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Lexie at her first appointment at Huntsman Cancer Institute, which happened to be on her birthday. Yuck.

Lexie at her first appointment at Huntsman Cancer Institute on Sept. 9, 2014. Yuck.

Two years ago, Beauty Redefined published a popular post arguing that the soaring increase in the number of young women with skin cancer is a beauty issue above all else. It has to do with young, light-skinned women believing tanned skin is equivalent to looking more beautiful, thin and “radiant.” We acknowledged there are a few causes worth dying for, but having a “bronzed, healthy glow” is NOT one of them. In a startling turn of events, I (Lexie), was diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. On Sept. 24, 2014, I had surgery to remove a large chunk of my thigh and three lymph nodes that could spread cancer throughout my body. And I can 100% confirm that tan skin is not worth dying for.

Friends, before years of research into how harmful unattainable beauty ideals can be and before forming Beauty Redefined, I was a light-skinned girl that bought the lie sold to us at every turn that tan skin was most beautiful. I’ve stepped foot in a tanning bed at least 15 times throughout my life. I laid out at the pool without reapplying sunscreen more times than I can count. And I would *beg* my younger self to do things differently. I would shout to her what I shout to the world now – You are more than a decoration for the world! Don’t buy the lie that your value and power are dependent upon your looks! Our lives are valuable, and that is abundantly clear after receiving a skin cancer diagnosis at age 28.

Crazy enough, skin cancer statistics demonstrate that we ladies really do believe a “healthy glow” is worth dying for, or at least worth having large areas of skin removed and tested for the rest of our lives. The incidence of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) in young adults is sky-high, with a six-fold increase in the past 40 years. Most interesting to us is the fact that the rise is BY FAR most noteworthy in young women ages 18-39, where the incidence of melanoma increased eight-fold from 1970-2009, while it increased four-fold for men.

This is a significant gender-specific finding. There are lots of factors to be taken into consideration in this soaring number of skin cancer diagnoses, but we’re ready to argue that this is, above all, a beauty issue. This isn’t an issue of ignorance or lack of education on the harmful effects of sun exposure or indoor tanning. This isn’t an issue of young white females just absolutely loving UV rays more than their white male counterparts. This isn’t an issue of girls desperately seeking more vitamin D while boys are less interested. This is an issue of Caucasian girls and women being totally convinced that having tanned skin is equivalent to looking more beautiful, and that beauty is worth every risk. “Having tan skin makes you look thinner,” “Having tan skin gives you a radiant healthy glow,” “Having tan skin gives you confidence.” Yes, confidence that you look beautiful, because if you’re not tan, you’re “pasty white,” “ghostly,” “pale” or – if you’re a famous actress but not a regular shorts-wearing high school girl – “a peaches and cream complexion.”

Where did we get this idea that fair skin is embarrassing, unflattering or a flaw in need of fixing by desperate means? By “desperate means,” we’re referring to baking in an indoor cancer coffin (a.k.a. tanning bed), lying unclothed in the blinding sun on a lava-hot lawn chair/trampoline/beach (a.k.a, sun bathing), paying good money to get hosed down with orangey-brown skin dye that sheds off in patches within 5-10 days (a.k.a. spray tanning), or slathering yourself in smelly orangey-brown solutions at home twice a day for two weeks while not touching any fabric or light walls for an hour because you will leave a distinctly “sun-kissed” look on everything (a.k.a. self-tanners).

Cancer coffin.

I know what you’re thinking. “No one uses those sun reflectors anymore!” (And I hope you’re right.) And also, “You’ve obviously never tried [insert favorite brand] tanning lotion/spray/skin suit! Pasty skin problems solved!” But that’s all beside the point. The point is that tan skin is a manufactured beauty ideal, and people are literally paying for it with their lives, or at least with huge areas of skin and debilitating treatments. When Coco Chanel made the game-changing statement in 1929 that “a girl simply has to be tanned,” it began to turn tan skin from a sign of low socio-economic status (from outdoor labor) to a chic and glamorous characteristic of recently-vacationing white women. Just like the brand new fashion trend of the time that prized tall, thin, flapper-esque bodies for women, the tan skin trend hasn’t gone away (now with added boob jobs)! But it wasn’t until the 1980s that it started making the beauty industry LOTS of money. Turning women from pasty and pathetic to bronzed and beautiful became a brand new market for the U.S. and spawned a nationwide influx of indoor tanning salons that saw a revenue of $5 billion in 2012.

Fun facts that make tanning a distinctly young, white, female, deadly problem:

  • Nearly 70 percent of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian girls and women, primarily aged 16 to 29 years.
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services and the WHO’s International Agency of Research on Cancer panel has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).
  • Based on 7 worldwide studies, people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 87 percent. (Source)

The indoor tanning people have fought back ferociously against the completely true and inarguable findings connecting tanning and skin cancer, but experts agree that there is no such thing as a “healthy tan” when it comes from UV rays. Their advice? “The number one thing – stop going to tanning beds,” says dermatologist and researcher Dr. Jerry Brewer. “All correlations point toward that as the reason for the [melanoma] increase.”

As the evils of indoor tanning, or “fake baking” as it is traditionally known, have come to light in the last several years, another brand new tanning industry was born! Sales of U.S.-produced self-tanning products increased more than 18% in 2012 to make it a $609 million industry. According to the industry itself, self-tanning “has grown furiously for more than a decade, and the economic downturn failed to slow it down.” (source) These self-tanners are largely marketed by beauty-related companies, which means, guess who the target audience is?! Us, women! We need so much help to fix our pasty messes! Thank goodness for these products. But just in case you don’t want to slather the tanning goo on your glowing white bodies yourselves, now a stranger can do it for you! The spray-tan industry popped up in the early 2000s to hose down nude or mostly-nude women with the perfect shade of “burnt sienna” or “blood orange” (thanks to “Bride Wars,” for warning us what can happen when this all goes terribly, terribly wrong).**

Still, despite the many millions of dollars we U.S. ladies are spending on these new-fangled indoor tanning solutions each year, our incidence of skin cancer is at an all-time high. Rather than advocating trading sunbathing for spray tanning – or arguing about the merits of either – we want to question our culture’s unflinching allegiance to the idea that girls and women must be tan. That tan skin is most beautiful*. That tan skin looks most “healthy” – regardless of one’s natural skin tone or how much damage gets done to it by tanning.

We see scary similarities to the worldwide skin-lightening industry that is set to rake in $10 billion globally by 2015 by convincing women of color from the U.S. and China to Nigeria and India that fair skin is most beautiful, most feminine, most desirable – and alternatively, that dark skin is ugly, shameful and unworthy of love. A full two-thirds of India’s dermatological industry is dominated by skin-whitening products, including totally mainstream companies with names like “Fair and Lovely.” Ew.

Though the skin-darkening and skin-lightening movements might appear to be opposites, they’re extremely similar. The U.S. tanning industry has got nothing on the world’s “fairness cream” and “skin lightening” industry in terms of revenue (and shockingly degrading messages), but they use similar tactics to incite appearance anxiety in women and then capitalize on that body shame by selling products to “fix” the flaw. In many cases, those so-called “solutions” to our skin tone problems are extremely dangerous to our health – whether it’s burning your face with hydroquinone to get a lighter complexion or burning your whole body with UVA/UVB rays to get a darker complexion. Both have proven to be deadly.

(Please pin this, pinners!)

This vicious cycle of “never quite good enough” is fantastic for a consumer culture supporting $100+ billion beauty product and weight loss industries, but it is certainly not conducive to real progress as individuals or as a culture. Join with us in pushing back against the skin tone ideals that have been manufactured for us and used against us. Let’s own our skin tones. Please commit with us to no more fake baking and spreading on the sunscreen when we’re out in the sun. We want to live long, healthy, cancer-free lives with you and your beautiful-as-it-is skin!

To decrease your chances of getting skin cancer, dermatologists recommend:

Wearing hats (big, floppy, bright-colored ones are highly recommended by me) and other protective clothing when out in the sun

Staying in the shade or bring an umbrella when possible

Applying lots of broad-spectrum sunscreen often

Avoiding sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever using tanning beds

Check your skin every month. Here is all the info you need. 

One of our sticky notes available for purchase!

Beauty Redefined recommends:

Believing that you are capable of much more than looking hot

Trying out these strategies for recognizing and rejecting harmful messages and kicking bad body image habits

Offering to slather sunscreen liberally and often on friends, lovers and nice-seeming strangers

Joining our awesome community on Facebook for extra help to love your skin color and avoid tanning when you’re feeling especially weak

* What the tanning oil and tanning bed people want us to forget (or at least disregard for the moment) is that what they advertise as a “bronzed, sun-kissed look” right now will very likely become a “leathery, sun-shriveled look” later. If we’re so motivated to improve our appearances, let’s let the vanity-based consequences of our sun worship help us kick the tanning addiction!
 
** Lots of people are questioning the health implications of these faux-tanning products, but at only about 15 years old, the industry is new enough that long-term complications haven’t been proven.
 

 

  1. Gerry Dorrian
    Gerry Dorrian04-08-2013

    Thanks for this valuable critique – perhaps it might be an idea to look at dancing programmes’ insistence on using fake tan? Little girls want to emulate the glamorous professional dancers, and I think this is where the idea is getting in at an early age.

  2. Sarah
    Sarah04-09-2013

    I agree with this message, and with what Gerry mentions as well. But I would suggest that sunscreen isn’t necessarily the best option – our skin is our largest organ and slathering mounds of chemically-laden creams on it all summer isn’t the best idea. It might be worth looking into natural solutions for sunscreen as well. (coconut oil, for instance)

    • Kittens
      Kittens04-10-2013

      Coconut oil? Are you for real? That’s like tanning oil. Slather yourself up that grease at the beach and you will (literally) fry.

      • Rachel
        Rachel06-12-2013

        I’ve actually been using coconut oil as a moisturizer for 3 years now and it’s amazing. I’m very fair skinned and burn quite easily but ever since I have used the coconut oil as my face moisturizer, I haven’t had a single burn on my face. Since researching it a little more (coconut oil has a natural SPF) I’ve realized I need to use it as an all around body lotion to keep the rest of me from burning too! If you research it a little I think you might be surprised at the information you find about it being a natural sunscreen.

    • rozy
      rozy04-29-2013

      There is a lot of fear spread about the cosmetics industry but for feminists and all women’s best interest I really think the critique should be focused on the mental health implications and not the supposedly cancer causing stuff which has never been proven and is very unlikely. I would suggest you read The Beauty Brains. It is very helpful and you will begin to understand what is used in personal care products, why and even the names of ingredients that are used become familiar which is pretty cool to look on a shampoo bottle you never would have understand and now understand most of it. http://thebeautybrains.com/
      http://colinsbeautypages.co.uk/scaremongers/

      • rozy
        rozy04-29-2013

        (not mental health implications from the chemicals as all physical things are made of chemicals but the psychological effects of the ads and propaganda that you will not be pretty without their products)

  3. Rachel
    Rachel04-09-2013

    I have what I think is called ivory skin (pale) with freckles. When I’m out in the sun too long, I burn. I have NEVER tanned, and frankly think a tan would look AWFUL with my red hair. i have always thought that some people (like a couple of people I know) tan easily while others (me) burn and if they want a tan they have to work at it. I personally would rather be DOING things rather than just lying around, so I have never bothered, and I have been extra careful that when I am out in the sun for extended periods of time (e.g. when I go strawberry picking – yum! But they are ALWAYS in sunny places) I put on sunscreen in the places on my body where I’m most susceptible to burn. I actually have to use a sunscreen with SPF45 in order to avoid burning.

  4. Kim Reid
    Kim Reid04-09-2013

    My 7th-grade health teacher said something I’ve never forgotten: “A tan is nothing more than a sign of damaged skin.” It taught me at a pretty early age to question what everyone else seemed to think was a “healthy glow.”

  5. Kittens
    Kittens04-10-2013

    Yeah. No. I love my healthy glow. I live somewhere warm where people frolic in the sun wearing a minimum of clothing. I do wear sunscreen, but I always get tan. F***, I get tan when I walk my dog. I LOVE IT. As a bonus, my tan hides the nasty inherited varicose veins that mar my gorgeous stems. Say inside form 11-3? LOLOL. That’s prime swimming/kayaking/boogieboarding weather, my friend. If some concern troll tried to slather sunscreen on my already sunscreened carcass, I would punch them.

  6. Mallory
    Mallory04-10-2013

    But in reality, while tanning may be a young women’s problem, skin cancer is an old men’s problem. There’s no sense in arguing against your point about beauty, but the statistics you’ve singled out do not paint the entire picture accurately. The largest cancer database in North America is the National Cancer Institute database, which shows a very minimal increase in melanoma in young women over the last 40 years (http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2009_pops09/browse_csr.php?section=16&page=sect_16_zfig.03.html). Certainly not the 8-fold increase that you cite, which comes from the Mayo Clinic study that analyzed one county and literally showed an increase from 1 case to 9. But, obviously using the reliable numbers would not help you make your point. Anyway, in comparison, according to NCI data, melanoma in older has indeed increased 5-fold over the past 40 years (while again incidence in younger women has remained relatively stable). If you’re going to try to blame the increase in younger women on tanning beds, then how do you explain the much greater increase in older men (who, as is the whole premise of your article, do not tend to use tanning beds nearly as much). It just doesn’t add up.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined04-10-2013

      The statistics I cited are credible and widely cited by dermatology experts. It is ridiculous to assert that I used skewed stats to “help make [my] point.” Do you think I have something to gain from painting an inaccurate picture of the incidence and dangers of skin cancer in young women? I can assure you I do not. Yes, the majority of those diagnosed with melanoma are men over 50, but up until age 40, significantly more women develop melanoma than men (1 in 391 women vs. 1 in 691 men). Women under age 39 have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer. Lastly, *I* did not blame tanning beds for the increase — dermatological researchers did.
      Sources:
      Sun Protection. Cancer Trends Progress Report – 2009/2010 Update. National Cancer Institute. http://progressreport.cancer.gov/doc_detail.asp?pid=1&did=2007&chid=71&coid=711&mid.
      American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2013. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@epidemiologysurveilance/documents/document/acspc-036845.pdf.

      • Mallory
        Mallory04-11-2013

        So you believe that a one county study showing an increase from 1 case to 9, examining the same topic, is more accurate than a national database? Surely not. That is my point. Whether you stand to gain from it or not, you are conveniently ignoring more pertinent research and focusing on what supports your point. It’s pretty easy to explain why said increase is occurring and why more young women than young men are being diagnosed with melanoma. Deaths rates are not changing, only incidence. This is not because of early detection and improved treatment, it’s because of over-diagnosis. The AAD acknowledges that 90% of melanoma surgeries are performed on benign lesions, meaning there was actually no melanoma (http://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(11)00808-5/abstract). But it is still classified in the database as a melanoma incidence. And why is this occurring in women more than men? Simply because young women tend to frequent dermatologists far more than young men. This is not meant to criticize dermatologists in any way. Just explaining why the statistics are not relevant…I understand that you are using information from doctors that is common belief and I’m not criticizing you for that. I’m simply presenting an opposing case, my understanding of the situation, that is entirely backed by fact.

        • Beauty Redefined
          Beauty Redefined04-11-2013

          Mallory, the 8-fold statistic is from a one-county study, but the rest of the data I cited is from a much wider range of populations. The rest of your opposition to my post appears to be your opinion vs. the medical community. They claim the incidence of skin cancer is increased while deaths are decreased because of early detection and improved treatement, while you claim it is because of over-diagnosis. Where are you getting your fact that the huge gender discrepancy in diagnoses is due to women visiting the dermatologist “far more often?” To be honest, your motive for arguing the relevance of this post and the research behind it is confusing. The motive of this post is not to spread untrue information that keeps girls and women out of the sun or to instill fear — it is to ask people to question their allegiance to tan beauty ideals in light of the known dangers of excess UV exposure. Women (and men) die every day from melanoma, and their doctors attribute it to tanning bed use and excessive sun exposure. Do you disagree with that? Are you truly just a concerned citizen out to make sure the facts are straight on medical research in general, or is there another motivation like supporting the tanning industry or opposing the sunscreen industry? I’m perfectly comfortable with my work being challenged, but this one is honestly just a bit confusing.

  7. Danielle
    Danielle04-10-2013

    Honest question: I get a pretty gnarly heat rash at the beginning of summer every year, so if I go on a tropical vacation after a few months of hibernation, I sometimes visit the tanning bed a few times just to get my skin used to the heat. Outdoors or tanning bed- I ALWAYS use sunscreen (though they say you’re not supposed to as it ‘damages their acrylics’). Is this still a really bad idea? The rash is incredibly itchy and painful, and can last up to 3 days, rendering those vacation days ruined. Of course, cancer isn’t worth it, but I’m just wondering if sunscreen makes a tanning bed any more ‘ok’?

  8. phenom1984
    phenom198404-11-2013

    My wife passed away from Melanoma early last week, so if you’re looking for real-world skin cancer effects, just ask. She used tanning beds and tanning oil as a teenager and that is likely the main contributing factor in her diagnosis. She was first diagnosed almost 4 years ago and it returned about a year and a half ago. Eventually the disease progressed quicker than her doctors had even anticipated. Melanoma is a vicious bitch, and anything you can do to lessen your chance of contracting it, and any more anyone can do to convince you to respect the sun and protect yourself from it, the better. It’s an awful, awful disease, and there are simple things you can do to lessen your chance of getting it. Stop using tanning beds. Start using sunscreen. RE-APPLY the sunscreen regularly, and as my wife’s last words of her last blog entry state, “Check your skin, people. Check your skin.” defyingmelanoma.com

    • Danielle
      Danielle04-12-2013

      Phenom, I’m very very sorry for your loss. I was toying with cancelling a tanning appointment due to the risk, and words like yours make this an easy decision to make. Thank you for sharing, and best wishes.

  9. Graham Mann
    Graham Mann04-12-2013

    I believe that sunshine is nature’s way of helping us to sustain good health. It’s like homeopathic medicine, too much can be dangerous, but in correct dosages, can help to cure. I have regularly used a professional sunbed, responsibly, for many years. I don’t burn. The scaremongering in the media is so misleading. It’s all about getting the biggest emotional reaction, regardless of the facts and relates to burning and fair skinned people who should not tan. The vast majority of people, like me, can tan, without burning and as a result maintain Vitamin D levels, so important for good health. Responsible use of a professional sunbed is perfectly healthy, it’s abuse by silly people that the journalists so enjoy reporting. Call them stupid yes; just don’t confuse them with the millions of responsible users like me.

    • rozy
      rozy04-29-2013

      Just wow to say the scaremongering is about the sun! The scaremongering is against the sunscreen industry and ‘chemicals’ that can kill you. Saying chemicals means nothing chemicals and synthetic things are not inherently bad. Modern medical care has saved my life and do you think they picked those meds of the ground? Heck no!

    • Natural Glow
      Natural Glow06-10-2013

      Big difference between natural sunshine and a tanning bed, which is not a safe, viable source of vitamin D. That’s like comparing an orange to High C.

      Light administered by a medical professional is used to cure, and there’s a big difference between photo therapy and a tanning bed, too.

      Tanning beds are used to make money off people’s short-sided vanity – never mind the fact that we can tan outside for free. You don’t even need to tan to get Vitamin D. All it takes is a few minutes in the sun a few days a week. To pay to tan on top of the more than adequate sunshine you already receive for free is not responsible. Just silly.

      The tanning industry makes the smoking industry look ethical. Those people used to promote “responsible” use of their product for good health, too. The truth is neither industry cares about you or your health, just your money.

      Wanna talk scare tactics?

      My favorite is a tanning rep who encouraged parents to allow their teens to tan at salons so they won’t engage in unauthorized tanning at a friend’s. Could use the same troll logic to advocate youth brothels.

    • AMW
      AMW09-24-2014

      Sun damage isn’t just caused by a ‘tan’ even if you don’t ‘burn’. Sunbeds deliver ultra high doses of UV radiation than you would ever naturally get by being outside.
      No-one needs that level of radiation Graham.

      I live in Australia, use sunscreen daily, even in winter and am deficient in Vitamin D. I don’t use Sunbeds to boost it, I take supplements every day instead. It’s either that or I forgo the sunscreen and chances are (with my fair Irish skin) get skin cancer before the time I’m 40.

      Tanning, even without burning causes irreparable damage to your skin.

      This isn’t emotional scaremongering Graham, these are facts.

      It’s up to you whether you take them on board and change your behavior. At the end of the day, you’re risking your health.

  10. Heidi
    Heidi05-02-2013

    Is there a way that I can post your picture/saying to my blog as a link to this one??

  11. Justinah
    Justinah06-28-2013

    Sunscreen has all sorts of cancer-CAUSING chemicals in them. If we’re going to talk about loving our skin, we should consider that as well.

  12. Ooloki
    Ooloki08-11-2013

    While I like your article for pointing out the dangers of tanning, I think you should also comment on the benefits of sunbathing a little bit rather than vilifying the sun and UV completely. My mother and I personally followed all this advice (covering up, sunscreen, avoid hours of 10-2pm) since a very young age because we’re mostly of Irish descent – auburn hair, freckles, translucent skin that show most of my veins. Sadly, this actually set me up for more trouble than it helped. Despite taking a multivitamin and eating a great diet, I was severely vitamin D deficient (coincidentally so is my mother). My father on the other hand worked outside and didn’t slather on the sunscreen etc, and he’s not vitamin deficient nor are my brothers. This deficiency caused me to be severely depressed all year long and made me easily fatigued. My doctor actually told me that I should go out at midday (when vitamin D producing UVB is highest) because the high dose of D he put me on wasn’t changing my blood D levels. After 2 weeks of doing this almost daily, my levels reached the minimum acceptance level. They were perfect after 3 months of doing this when the weather permitted. I also couldn’t wear sunscreen when I sun bathed because even a small SPF reduced vitamin D production to inefficient levels. I was also advised by my doctor not to overuse sunscreen because it can interfere with hormones in susceptible individuals such as myself that have PCOS or many others who have thyroid issues etc.

    Although I don’t advocate tanning for the sake of a tan, the sun and UVB shouldn’t be avoided at all cost. Scientists have and still are discovering all the benefits that vitamin D has in the body, and that supplementing it isn’t optimal or even safe.

    • AMW
      AMW09-24-2014

      Ooloki, I have the same issue, same skin and heritage, same deficiency. But I never sunbathe.
      Heck, in summer here in Australia, just going to hang out the washing I can come back inside with redness on my arms and neck.

      No-one is saying the sun is evil and to avoid it at all costs.

      But you do have to do it safely. If that’s what your doctor has recommended, then so be it.

      I know they are trailing mega doses of Vit D over an intensive period at the moment, my father was prescribed it by his GP.

      After all is said and done, I’d rather take supplements for the rest of my life than get skin cancer.

  13. Henry
    Henry08-12-2014

    This is coming from a man. I don’t think beauty matters when it comes to skin complexion. Some women look beautiful with dark skin and some women look beautiful with light skin. I don’t know what all the fuss is about with tanning. I am not so obsessed about my skin color. Men in general don’t give a damn whether they’re tanned or not. They’re more worried about their physique. They want to be built and have muscles. Women to me I really don’t give a damn if they’re tanned or not. If they have a great body and look sexy then that’s a plus, but the most important thing I look for in a woman is their personality and that’s what matters most. Of course I want a beautiful woman but the first thing I look first in a long lasting relationship is their character.

  14. Jennifer
    Jennifer09-24-2014

    Thank you very much for this post. I had basal cell carcinoma in my early 20s, I believe as a direct result of using tanning beds. I’m blonde, blue-eyed, and fair and even though I didn’t use them a huge amount, I think they contributed to getting skin cancer. I am now adamantly against tanning, and take very good care of my skin, plus try to impress on others that having that tan glow isn’t worth getting cancer for! Tanning just isn’t a good idea.

    I understand how difficult it is to embrace the anti-tan though, especially when every magazine out there pushes tan skin as the beautiful ideal and glowy girls are everywhere all summer while those of us who are pale stick out like sickly sore thumbs. You really have to get past the idea though that looking that way is all that matters. Pale is gorgeous!

    I’ve come to a point where I realize I want to look like myself, whatever that includes. If I’m pale, fine. If I have fine hair, fine. If my eyes are too big, fine! I don’t need to be like everyone else, and it isn’t all about my “look”. I’m a whole person. So if all someone can see is this outer layer, then maybe that person shouldn’t be in my inner circle. For that reason I also don’t use sunless tanners. I don’t need to put on some show for people. And I don’t think any other pale girls out there should feel like they need to either!

    :-)

  15. AMW
    AMW09-24-2014

    Best wishes Lexie on your treatment.

    In my state of Victoria, Australia, we will have banned commercial sun beds from the end of the December this year.

    Most other states in Australia have already done the same.

    I’m having a skin check done soon too, and I hope and pray I haven’t done any lasting damage to my skin from moments of laziness and vanity.

  16. Heather
    Heather09-25-2014

    Lexie, good luck with the fight against melanoma. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us. This last summer I bought a darling, UV blocking parasol. I’ve been noticing more and more people with parasols in the sun lately, and am hoping it’s a trend that will spread.

  17. Jenn Sullivan
    Jenn Sullivan09-29-2014

    Every person on here arguing that it’s OK to be in the sun obviously hasn’t received a call after a skin biopsy asking for them to get to their doctor immediately. It’s unlikely any of the sun tan proponents have had lathe chunks of skin removed and been told that for the test of their lives they will need to avoid the sun, have 3, 6 or 12 month full body skin checks, and to always wear sunscreen, no matter what. I was diagnosed with Melanoma at 24 weeks pregnant, age 31, that was a little over a month ago. It is terrifying. I’ve never used a tanning bed, used sunscreen but not enough when u was younger and instead of enjoying my pregnancy this time around I was in contact with my attorney finalizing my will. Luckily it was all removed, but there is a lot of fear of it returning. Melanoma is deadly, why in the hell would anyone risk their life? Vitamin C is important, but it comes in a vitamin. I promise those of you arguing that sunscreen is dangerous and saying we need sun won’t feel that way if they receive the same diagnosis of Melanoma – God forbid because I wouldn’t want any of you to go through that, or your family members to face the fear of life without someone they love.

  18. Jenn Sullivan
    Jenn Sullivan09-29-2014

    Please excuse my misspellings, posted from my phone. …

  19. Evolve Medical Spa
    Evolve Medical Spa09-30-2014

    Thank you for telling your story! Tanning beds have been directly linked to skin cancer, even those that are supposedly ‘safe’. There is no ‘safe’ tanning bed and it’s important for men and women to understand the risks associated with them.

    I hope young men and women read your story and are inspired to change their tanning ways. Bronzed skin is not worth skin cancer!

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