The Myth of the "Healthy Tan"


Look at that face! Look at that pale, pasty, "screams at the sight of the sun" face. Yes, there is no denying that right there is some Irish skin.

Growing up, I can't tell you how many times I was told that I looked "sick." Why don't you get some sun? It's good for you! You need to get a healthy tan. You are way too pale! The fact is, for the most part, I have generally avoided the sun. I don't tan. I get what's called "the Irish tan." This consists of leaving the beach stark white, turning bright red after being home for about two hours, peeling, and being back to stark white again. This is just not really something that's worth it to me, so I just don't bother. The fact is, it's served me pretty well. At 40 years old I still get carded at the bar every so often... that is a success story if you ask me!

Good sun habits should start young. Sun damage builds up over time and this sun damage, a result of Ultra-Violet (UV) rays are the primary cause of skin cancer. Do you know how to keep your skin safe in the sun? The American Cancer Society (ACS) has developed this Sun Safety Quiz to check your knowledge!

The ACS also reminds you, when you are out in the sun to "Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap!"

  • Slip on a shirt

  • Slop on some sunscreen

  • Slap on a hat

  • Wrap on sunglasses to protect your eyes and the skin around them

As we get older, it's important to have our skin checked regularly for any growths or marks that may look suspicious. Melanoma, caught early and close to wear it started has a 98% 5-year survival rate. When it has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body, the survival rates drop to only 63% and 16% respectively. Early detection is the key to survival!

So, enjoy the summer! Enjoy the beach! Enjoy the sun! However... enjoy a good SPF 30+ sunscreen. Enjoy a beach umbrella or maybe a wide brimmed hat! Keep that skin young and wrinkle free, but most important CANCER FREE!

References:

American Cancer Society, Skin Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

WebMD, 9 Sun Safety Tips for Your Skin

Cancer.Net, Melanoma Statistics


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