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Fry Now, Pay Later

By: Noreen Young
Posted: June 24, 2008, from the February 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

“Fry now, pay later.” These ominous words are from a recent skin cancer awareness advertising campaign. Unfortunately, they are100% accurate when it comes to the sun and your skin.

In addition to basking in the warm rays while playing at the beach, gardening, engaging in sports and enjoying picnics, year-round tanning bed use is on the rise. WebMD Medical News states that, on an average day in the United States, more than 1 million people visit tanning salons—and at an increasingly younger age—despite its proven link to melanoma,the most deadly form of skin cancer.

At my studio, I’m seeing a greater number of clients who even have purchased their own tanning bed. They use it daily to feel better about their appearance, whether it is to get a little color or to look thinner. Recently, one of my clients came in with red, swollen eyes because she had neglected to wear protective goggles.

Because tanning beds utilize ultraviolet-A (UVA) rays instead of the more carcinogenic ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays, even some professionals within the esthetic industry erroneously believe that indoor tanning is safe. Bottom line: There is no such thing as a safe tan. In actuality, the skin responds to the injury inflicted by sun exposure by producing melanin, which creates the coveted bronze glow. Therefore, every time you tan, you do cumulative damage to your skin, accelerating the aging process and increasing the risk of contracting skin cancer.

There is no disputing the fact that the sun is good for you—it produces vitamin D in the body and lifts your spirits—but a little bit goes a long way. As estheticians, we must continue to educate our clients about its dangers due to the depletion of the ozone layer, which causes rays to become more harmful to the skin. Regardless of their sex or age, help your clientele to become sun sensible.

The glaring truth