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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Why I've Stopped Tanning! {& why you should too}

As someone who has gone to school the last year to be in the beauty industry, it's no surprise that I've stopped tanning. Who doesn't want flawless, wrinkle-less skin in their 30's & 40's? I quickly learned how important it was to take care of my skin- the importance of a good face wash, and why I should be exfoliating. What a difference a great moisturizer can make and why it's important for me to be drinking the right amount of water throughout the day.
The most important thing I think I could have taken away from school, is the damaging effects the sun has on our skin. Wrinkles, aging, sun spots.. none of which any of us want, I guarantee it. My second job in high school was working at the local tanning salon down the street. I loved it. I would tan every shift I worked, sometimes twice. I knew the ins-and-outs of all the products and could easily sell an upgrade on a tanning bed. That was 8 years ago and in the short amount of time since, I can't tell you the damage my skin has- especially on my face. I've got more itty bitty wrinkles all around my eyes than my friends in their 30's have. I have sun spots and hyperpigmentation all over my forehead and cheeks.
My mom used to lather us up in sunscreen when we were really tiny at the pool and I HATED it. I hated the smell, I hated the greasy waterproof texture, I wanted it off. From the time I was little, I've always wanted that bronzed, just-came-from-the-beach glow. Who doesn't? It seemed like a trip to the tanning bed on a crappy day would fix everything. I'd get my dose of VitD in the winter & I was feeling great.
My mindset is completely different now. I use 50 SPF broad spectrum on my face My family has an intense history of skin cancer. {I'll spare you and not show pictures.} My grandma & papa have both had skin cancer, my mom has had multiple lesions removed, my dad had to have part of his scalp removed because of skin cancer, I've had melanoma removed from my left leg, two cancerous spots removed from my back and one from my stomach, and just two weeks ago had another cancer spot removed from my foot. My brother had a concerning spot removed, found out they didn't get it all, it came back to be melanoma & spent time in the Huntsman Cancer Institute to have his lymph nodes removed to make sure it hadn't spread. The only person in my family who has not suffered in some way is my little red headed bombshell sister. Very fair, red hair, freckles, green eyes.. and she tans at the tanning salon. Which is the biggest reason why I'm actually writing this post. Just this morning I came into work and her face is pink, her eyelids are burned, and immediately my blood pressure rises over the fact that she's seen all of this happen to immediate family members, but yet still tans.
Let me give you guys some facts.
{source HERE} 

-There are nearly 22,000 tanning salons across the United States, serving about 28 million customers.
-Out of the 28 million people who tan indoors, 2.3 million are teens.
-70% of people who go to tanning salons are white females between 16 to 29 years old.
-The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization’s International Agency of Research on Cancer panel stated that ultraviolet radiation from the sun and artificial sources from tanning beds are known to be cancer-causing.
-Although the amount of radiation produced during indoor tanning is similar to the sun, it may be stronger in some cases.
-Melanoma rates have increased in the last three decades. About 76,000 U.S. adults will be diagnosed with the cancer-type this year. About 9,200 are expected to die from the disease.
-The risk of melanoma is 75% higher for people who start tanning indoors before the age of 30.
-Indoor tanning can lead to skin aging, immune suppression and eye damage.
-Only one-third of people use sunscreen while tanning.
-58% of adolescent tanning bed users have burns due to constant exposure.
-Only 36 states restrict indoor tanning by minors.
-Study finds more skin cancer cases due to indoor tanning, than lung cancer cases due to smoking.

I don't know about you, but those stats totally freak me out. 75% HIGHER CHANCE for melanoma if you've tanned indoors before 30?! I was 15 years old the first time I used an indoor tanning bed. FIFTEEN! There were days that I would step out of the tanning bed and I would have white puffy blotches all over. That was my body trying to reject the ultraviolet light because it had received so much over a short amount of time. I would actually get acrylic burns on my feet, tailbone and shoulder blades.

I work in the Huntsman Cancer Institute and I've seen the effects of the sun. I've seen people who have needed facial prosthetics, I've seen people walking down the halls hooked to their IV drip & young moms suffering while trying to take care of their small children. I've seen lots of older patients who have been here on and off for years. Can any one of you tell me honestly that you haven't had SOMEONE close to you be effected by cancer? It's scary!
Over the last few years I've noticed lots of new freckles. I religiously go to the dermatologist every July for a full body scan. When I asked my Dermatologist about these new freckles he told me they're from tanning when I was younger, and I'll see an abundance of new freckles that are all skin damage now showing up years later.
Most people think if it's cloudy outside you don't need to wear sunscreen. FALSE! Remember when you were a kid and you had a big magnifying glass to kill bugs on the sidewalk? The clouds have the exact same effect as the magnifying glass does. It just intensifies those UV rays. Same goes for the windows in your car!

I hate hearing friends tell me they tan for the Vitamin D. And you just feel good after tanning. Trust me, of anyone I get this. It didn't seem like there was anything better on a rainy day in high school than a quick trip to the tanning salon for some sun.
You guys will feel just as good from taking a Vitamin D supplement. You do NOT need an indoor tanning bed for Vitamin D!

Look at this truck driver.
That is the damage caused from just the UV rays through the windshield!
If you're worried about a facial sunscreen making you feel oily, there are lots of great options out there. When looking for a sunscreen, make sure it says Helioplex or Broad Spectrum. This protects you against UVA & UVB rays. A sunscreen bottle that says "facial sunscreen" is typically going to be oil-free. Look for a bottle that specifically says oil-free to ensure that's what you're getting. An SPF 15 has about 97% coverage. I recommend to my clients to wear SPF 30 at ALL TIMES! Here are some great sunscreens that I love.
 This Dermalogica Sunscreen is Professional product. Even discounted as a student, I paid around $35.00 for this 1.3 oz bottle. Right now it's on sale at Amazon (haha I really shouldn't be telling you this) for around $24.00-29.00. It's a tinted SPF which I think is great for Summer. It also comes in a light, medium, or deep tint.

The Neutrogena SPF is around $12.00/bottle and you can buy this at your local grocery store or Target. (I couldn't find this with the rest of the sunscreen, I had to look by the facial cleansers) it's oil free, broad spectrum & feel great on your face. This picture says SPF 110- you will probably only be able to buy SPF 50 at your store. Honestly, they aren't much different when it comes to coverage. SPF 50 is plenty.

You guys have no idea how many clients in their 30's and 40's I had coming to me for chemical peels, microdermabrasion, specialty age facials.. all saying they wish they would have taken care of their skin in their teens and early 20's. I hate the thought of something happening to me down the road, getting cancer and leaving a family behind because I HAD to tan when I was younger. Seems pretty selfish, doesn't it?
Take care of your skin.. it's so good to you, show it some love!
I know Summer is just around the corner and we've been craving the sunshine for months now. I get it! Just be smart. Wear your SPF (you'll still get sun exposure I promise!) Don't forget to put sunscreen on your hands, tops of feet and ears! Wear a cute floppy hat (plus that's a reason to go shopping if you don't already have one..!)

Your skin does so much for you, take good care of it!
You'll be so happy later that you did


  1. Great post! I am an Esthetician and I have seen many faces that look just like that wrinkly Barbie! The risks are real! There are so many great sunless tanners out there today too! I love Fake Bake sunless tanning spray!

    Thrift and Shout

  2. I love this! Thank you so much for taking the time I share yor personal stories as well as your esthetician knowledge! I also used to go tanning and I wish I could take all of the skin damage back. I totally abused my skin for the sake of looking tan for mere days, it was so stupid!

  3. ....I feel so stupid. I'm going to Mexico next week, so naturally with my light skin and not wanting to fry I've been trying to tan outside in preparation. Well, today I caved and just went to a tanning salon... $100 dollars later and I'm completely regretting my decision! I only want to go a couple times but I got weaseled into the "cheapest" package. Gah, and those lotions are so expensive! I completely forgot. Anyways, I've been mad at myself all day for spending that much on giving myself cancer, and then to top it off I read your post. Ha, too ironic! Loved the post, great facts (:

  4. sharing the crap out of this. thank you for posting this friend!!!

  5. Yep I stopped being worried about being "tan" a few years ago and I'm an anti sun freak. I am pasty white but I'll take the LIGHT color for wrinkle free skin :)

  6. Great post! I'm definitely one of those people that wishes I would have taken better care of my skin.


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