Skin cancer alternative
Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells. It most often develops on skin exposed to the sun. Many people understand this. Unfortunately, many hold the misconception that using a tanning bed, or booth to get a tan is safer than tanning outside in the sun. The truth is that indoor tanning also exposes skin to damaging and dangerous levels of ultraviolet rays, the same type that come from the sun and causes most skin cancer. In a cruel ironic twist, many people who believe that they are utilizing an alternative form of tanning, are simply utilizing an alternative source for skin cancer.
The hazard of UV rays
It doesn’t matter whether they come from indoor tanning or from the sun, UV rays can also cause wrinkles, rashes, and dark spots. Tanning is particularly dangerous for the young. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), people who begin tanning during adolescence or early adulthood are at a greater risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Indoor tanning is especially popular amongst young people because they believe a tan makes them look more attractive and healthier. UV rays can actually change the DNA in cells, which is what experts believe causes most skin cancers. Weaker UV rays are linked to long-term skin damage, including wrinkles and changes in texture.
No such thing as a base tan
Another dangerous misconception is that being tanned provides natural protection against sunburn. The truth is that tanned skin is damaged skin. Tanning is the body’s response to injury from UV rays. The darker tone is evidence that damage has been done. It does nothing to protect you from future UV exposure.
How to protect yourself
Consider the following precautions to avoid damaged skin and to reduce your risk for skin cancer:
- Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps.
- Cover up when you are out in the sun, wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible.
- Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UV light.
- Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
- Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.
- Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Skin cancer screening in Charlotte, NC
Your risk for skin cancer can depend upon many factors. If you are finding it difficult to live with your condition, Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte can provide high quality and innovative treatment in a caring and professional environment. Dr. Nixon is a board-certified dermatologist, whose dedication, experience, and knowledge will provide the best possible treatment for your cosmetic and medical dermatology concerns.
Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte also offers surgical dermatology. They provide a full range of cosmetic offerings such as skin tightening, fat reduction, chemical peels, Botox treatments, microdermabrasion, and more. They provide treatment for both adult and pediatric patients. Call their office today for a skin care evaluation and skin cancer screening, or for any other skin condition.