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Melanoma Prevention Better Than Cure

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.  How can we get this idea through to our kids, teenagers, and young adults who like to tan?  It seems like no matter what we say, or how dire the statistics, the idea of avoiding dangerous UV rays just doesn’t faze them.

Even though melanoma is one of the most deadly forms of cancer, it’s one of the most preventable cancers.  It is especially alarming then, that according to the CDC, melanoma has doubled in the US over the past 30 years while most other cancers are in decline. This means that tanners are consciously rolling the dice with skin cancer.

Melanoma Prevention Better Than Cure

Melanoma Prevention Better Than Cure

There is no such thing as a safe tan: 90% of melanoma cases are caused by UV exposure.  Melanoma is triggered in the melanocytes – the cells that produce the pigment melanin, which creates a tan. UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells, which can impair genes that regulate the growth and division of skin cells, provoking the cells to become cancerous. Limiting UV exposure and boosting sun protection are the first line of defense to reduce your chances of getting melanoma.

We need to look at the benefit tanners feel they are getting from tanning and show them how it really is not beneficial at all.  Lets look at smoking as a case study. Smokers used to smoke because it was “cool”.  Then the highly effective anti-smoking campaign showed a cancer survivor with a laryngectomy talking through the hole in their throat.  Suddenly smoking was not so cool anymore.

I decided to try this technique with my friend’s daughter who is STILL an avid tanner.  I asked her: “Why do you do it?”  She replied, “To look good”.  Then I showed her the picture of the woman who took a skin cancer selfie that went viral last month. “Tanning is not so beautiful after all, hugh?”  Let’s hope that image is etched in her mind so the next time she is about to lay out under the Arizona sun and work on her tan she will reconsider.

The only way we can counteract the falacy that tanning is beautiful is to show tanners the ultimate effects of UV damage. When we try to teach tanners the risks, we bore them.  But when we show tanners the consequences, we engage them.  By showing them the harmful consequences of tanning, we can expose the real danger and consequences and deter their desire to tan. We must start a conversation with tanners about the consequences of UV exposure, how to avoid it, and that a real tan is not worth the risk.

The National Laser Institute offers non-obligation consultations. To find out how you can have healthier skin, call 800.574.8377 or click here and receive a free consultation with one of our skin care experts.

Louis J. Silberman is the CEO and Co-Founder of National Laser Institute, the pioneer of the medical aesthetics training industry and one of the largest educators in the country.