Earlier this week, I was going through my email, looking at articles, deleting some, and unsubscribing from others. While doing so, I found an article about skin cancer that scared me. It was horrifying actually and made me regret past decisions in my life. The main theme around these decisions? Tanning.
Ever since I was little, I love when my olive skin is tan. My definition of a perfect summer day involves basking in the sun on the beach while listening to music as the day passes by. Just writing about it makes me want to jump on a plane to somewhere sunny and 75. Now growing up, my mom would slather SPF 50 on my little brother since he didn't inherit my dad's Sicilian skin and burns easily. On the other hand, I would run away as soon as she approached me with the sunscreen. I hated the gooey, smelly stuff. I preferred the Banana Boat tanning oil my cool teenage cousin used.
Fast forward to high school and my friends introduced me to my new frenemy: the tanning bed. Living in a small town, there were only two salons. Of course I went to the one where around prom time, they offered buy one, get one month of unlimited tanning. After the final school bell, so many junior and senior girls would rush to the tanning salon. Ah, what nice memories waiting for the tanning bed. That was the beginning of my bad habit.
This bad habit continued throughout college, especially when working full-time at my internship prohibited me from laying out during the summer. Even after graduation, I used my full-time job as an excuse to frequent the tanning salon. I could transform into a bronze goddess any time of the year! How cool is that?! Except here are some facts from Redbook Magazine that I wish I wouldn't have ignored for the past six years:
1. Your risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent when you use tanning beds before the age of 35.
2. Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer shifted indoor tanning devices to the highest cancer risk category: "carcinogenic to humans." (They were formerly classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans.")
3. Tanning can be addictive. For some people, UV radiation can have a druglike effect; they feel dependent on it and can experience withdrawal symptoms, says David Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.
4. Not only are tanning-bed users more vulnerable to melanoma, they're also 2½ times more likely to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and 1½ times more susceptible to basal cell carcinoma.
5. Starting this July, you're going to pay a 10-percent tax every time you slip into the tanning booth.
So this year, I'm going to finally kick my vice and make some changes: