It’s May. That means it’s skin cancer awareness month! And boy do I have a lot to say about that topic ;) Consider this blog post one big giant PSA to wear some f*cking sunscreen. All the time. Every day. All over your body. Just freaking do it.
Not convinced quite yet? Alright fine. I can keep going.
Let me remind you what happens when you don’t practice safe sun (yep, I’m going there and I’m crazy passionate about this topic). I grew up a competitive swimmer. I tan super super easily and was ALWAYS tan as a kid. No kidding, I would could spend 15 minutes outside at recess one spring day in shorts and immediately have tan legs. I hardly ever burned. In fact, I don’t remember ever having one of those crazy peeling blistering sun burns that they say are so dangerous. If I burned, my skin would be a little pink and would just tan the next day. I always had this ‘base’ tan and assumed it was my skins way of protecting itself against the harmful UV rays.
Well, let me tell you just how wrong I was. So wrong that it’s almost embarrassing to admit. But being honest is my jam so here we go. It wasn’t until was first diagnosed with Melanoma back in 2013 that I learned that when your skin changes color (even ever-so-slightly) it’s because it’s being damaged. I was 24 years old before I really knew just how bad sun exposure was and how important sun screen is to your daily routine. Sadly, I had so much sun exposure as a young kid, that there wasn’t much I could do about it from a historical perspective, but I could (and did) change my sun habits moving forward. So no, ‘base tans’ aren’t a thing and being pale is actually cool (at least I think so). I now embrace my paleness to the fullest! 💁🏻♀️
You probably think you look better/skinnier/smoother skin/etc. when you’re tan, but it’s not worth it. I promise you, it’s not worth it. And don’t even get me started with that “sunscreen is gross” bs. You know what else is gross?! Cancer.
American Academy of Dermatology Association has some great infographics about the facts and figures associated with sun exposure. Take a second to read them — they’re pretty impactful. And the next time you want an afternoon tanning session at the pool, please remember this:
Nearly 20 Americans die EVERY DAY from Melanoma.
Yes, the same damn Melanoma in my lungs, legs, shoulder, heart AND brain. The same Melanoma that is trying to silently kill me. The same Melanoma that I am fighting so relentlessly to beat.
Regular, daily use of sunscreen can reduce the risk of developing Melanoma by 50 percent. So, stop making excuses for yourself and please, please, please just wear some damn sunscreen. It’s really not that hard. And also don’t go to a tanning bed – like, ever.