Protection from sun saves skin


ROME, Ga.— Tanning has presented serious health risks for decades, and doctors are looking for safe alternatives for getting a healthy glow that does not involve the sun’s damage.

“Tanning is a direct result of ultraviolet light injuring the skin,” Dr. Jason Smith said. “Sunless tanners work by staining the skin without the harmful effects that are produced by UV rays.”

Skin cancer prevention doable by being cautious, careful in sun

Dermatologists like Smith and Dr. Keith Harris at Northwest Georgia Dermatology in Rome, Georgia, focus on giving women and men perfect complexions without damaging skin.

Northwest Georgia Dermatology’s Rome, Georgia, office (Photo by Amber Patton)

Through self-tanning lotions and professional spray tans, the look is attainable without risking the health of the skin .

New options

Every staff member at Northwest Georgia Dermatology suggests using Fake Bake, giving the wanted look of a tan without risking a person’s health and future. It is a part of the sunless tanning trend that has been around since the ’80s.

Fake Bake comes in two shades for lighter and darker skin and is sold for $26.50 at Northwest Georgia Dermatology’s offices or online.

“The awareness is there, and it’s a cheaper alternative than going through chemo or having cancerous cells removed,” said Shawn Regenitter, office manager at Northwest Georgia Dermatology.

Fake Bake is not the only option for tanning without the sun or ultraviolet light, but it is the one Northwest Georgia Dermatology has seen the best results with patients.

History of tanning

The appeal of a tan has been around since early 1900s when fashion designer CoCo Chanel came back from the beach with a tan. Now, women and men thrive to get a perfect complexion and, in the process, risk their lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancers are the most diagnosed cancers in the world and are usually caught earlier than other types. Yet, tanning beds are still found in every town, and some are even found in people’s homes.

Doctors suggest alternatives like Fake Bake and spray tans, which give a person the same look, and recommend applying sunscreen over the fake tan to protect the skin.

“People are more aware of skin cancer now, and people are looking for a natural look without the sun,” said front office assistant Debbie Johnson.

Statistics of young adults and tanning

In 2010, the National Health Interview survey reported that 32 percent of people it surveyed between the ages of 18 and 21 used a tanning bed.

Chrystal Woods (Photo by Amber Patton)

“We are starting to see more and more young people with atypical moles show up,” said Chrystal Woods, a surgical medical assistant at Northwest Georgia Dermatology.  “This is what turns into skin cancer. This can happen in weeks, months or years, but eventually they will turn into cancer.”

Common misconceptions about tanning beds are to blame for the rise of tanning bed use. Such misconceptions include:

  • Tanning beds are safer.
  • Tanning beds provide the body with only good vitamins.
  • Tanning beds will provide a base tan to protect skin from the sun.

Skin cancer

Skin cancer, like all other cancers, is a mutation that occurs in the cells. Yet, with skin cancer, doctors, nurses, medical assistants and scientists all blame one source for the cause of this cancer: ultraviolet light.

Ultraviolet light can be found in ordinary sun rays or in tanning beds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tanning beds and their ultraviolet lights are direct causes for cancers like melanoma.

Melanoma is one of the leading causes of death in today’s society. It is a cancer and often forgotten about. Men and women both experience skin cancer, and it can happen at any age.

(Graphic by Amber Patton)

Many elderly people will experience skin cancer at some point in their life due to the invention of sunscreen not happening until the late 1930s.

Now dermatologists are having to turn their approach of just removing skin cancer from people in their eighties, and instead focusing their attention to people only in their teens that are abusing their skin with the sun.

The new use of sunless tanning products is not just a new fad, it’s saving lives


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