Director of Marketing, Save Your Skin Foundation
It’s no secret that for a long time Western culture has had an obsession with tanning, whether on the beach or at a tanning salon.
Bronze does not equal beauty
The idea that a sun-kissed look equates to beauty has persisted for decades and many still associate a tan with a healthy glow. While a tan can temporarily cause skin to look radiant and reduce the look of blemishes, every tan creates varying levels of skin damage.
Many mistakenly think tanning is safe as long as they don’t burn. Sadly, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s no way to tan that’s safe. Sun damage is cumulative, which means every bit of sun exposure our skin receives increases our risk of skin cancer.
About one third of all new cases of cancer in Canada are skin cancers. There are 80,000 new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year and 90% of those are caused by sun exposure. While many forms of skin cancer can be treated when caught early, melanoma is often deadly and is responsible for 1,300 deaths a year in Canada.
Sun exposure is also the most common cause of skin damage and wrinkling and causes brown spots and pigment irregularity, as well as broken capillaries and red blotches.
When we’re young, we have this sense of immortality and we too often ignore the risks in order to keep achieving a bronzed look. This is usually the time when people do the most damage.
We need to change the conversation around “beautiful skin” to remove tanning from the picture. Beautiful skin is healthy skin. Our skin is our largest organ and protects the human body in so many ways. It’s an act of self-love and self-care to protect it.
It’s never too late to start practicing healthy skin habits. Wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, use zinc oxide, cover up with hats and long sleeves, and seek shade when the sun is at its strongest.