Facts and Myths
Skin Cancer is not a serious disease.
Skin cancer kills one person every hour, and the rates of invasive melanoma are rising faster than any other skin cancer.
Tanning beds give the patron a healthy tan that prevents future burning and gives the body a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
There is no such thing as a healthy tan. A tan is sun damage; the body releases melanin to protect itself from the penetrating damage caused by UV rays. All UV rays damage the dermis by causing photoaging (premature aging caused by breaking down the elastic components of the skin) and carcinogenesis (cancer caused by unprotected sun exposure through damage to the DNA of skin cells).
Skin cancer, like all cancers, only happens to the elderly.
Fifty percent of all skin cancers are diagnosed before the age of 50.
Skin Cancer is the number one killer of women ages 25 to 29.
Skin Cancer is the number two killer of women ages 30 to 35.
People with darker skin tones cannot contract skin cancer.
While people with more pigmentation (or melanin) are less likely to get skin cancer, it is possible. For example, acral lentiginous melanoma accounts for ten percent of all melanomas, and people of any skin tone can contract this form of melanoma.
It is safe for me to stay in the sun because I wear sunscreen.
Sunscreen does not make sun exposure safe. It only reduces the damage done by sun exposure. Wearing sunscreen is like wearing a motorcycle helmet. If you are going to ride a motorcycle, you should wear a helmet. However, the helmet only offers partial protection in a crash. Similarly, sunscreen only offers partial protection against the damage done by the sun. With a motorcycle, the real safety question is whether or not to ride at all. The same can be said for sun exposure. The steps needed for sun safety are as follows and are listed in order of importance.
- No tanning or intentional sun exposure under any circumstances.
- Avoid direct sunlight when possible especially in the middle part of the day. If you must be outside, try to be outside early in the morning or late in the evening and seek shade when possible.
- Cover the skin with clothing.
- Apply sunscreen liberally to areas of the skin not protected by clothing. Re-apply sunscreen every two hours.