“Pale Is The New Tan”

“Pale is the new tan”

Fashion magazines, runways and celebrities such as Marsha Cross, Nicole Kidman, Kristen Stewart and Scarlet Johansen are getting away from the tanned look. Tanning among these groups is no longer the “it thing” and a trend of “pale is the new tan” is being established. However, despite the trending away from the bronzed beach body look, many of us still buy into the old thought process that a sun-kissed tan looks healthy and beautiful and a good tan camouflages flaws leading to increased self confidence. The reality is that some simply cannot resist getting a tan.

During the winter months, the quest for that sun-kissed tan leads women, men and teenagers alike to the tanning bed. Misconceptions given by the tanning industry that tanning beds are a “safe way to tan” because of the “control eminence of UV rays” cause many to thoughtlessly flock to tanning salons to get a little color.

Research about the harmful nature of tanning is overwhelming and alarming. In fact, The World Health Organization has categorized UV tanning devices as among the most dangerous causes of human cancers. UV radiation is a proven human carcinogen and sunlamps found in tanning beds emit 12 times the armful UVA rays received from the sun. In individuals that use the tanning bed before the age of 30, the risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent. Those who tan indoors are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who do not tan. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer killing an estimated 8,790 individuals in the US annually.  In addition, tanning bed users are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinomas and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.

In addition to the carcinogenic effects of tanning bed, UV exposure causes cumulative and often irreversible premature aging of the skin. Signs of this “photoaging” are fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, leathery or rough texture, blotchiness and sunspots. Quite the opposite of the “healthy glow” look that many tanners are trying to achieve.

So, if despite all of the convincing facts that argue against tanning you still desire a little color and feel that the color “pale” does nothing for you, there is still good news!!! Sunless tanners are your answer. They give a very natural appearing tan without the harmful affects of tanning from UV rays. They come in a variety of formulations including creams, foams, gels, instant and gradual tanners. Many tanning salons and spas offer spray or airbrush tanning. Perhaps your tanning salon would even be willing to transfer your membership for credit towards spray tanning sessions.

So, if being Snow white this winter has you feeling the winter blues and Pale is definitely not your new tan, consider the facts of harmful tanning and consider self/sunless tanners.

Many of the statistic above are courtesy of the Skin Cancer Foundation. For more excellent information on the effects of tanning, tanning alternatives and skin cancer visit skincancer.org.

If you have a history of tanning bed use and have never had a skin cancer evaluation we at Georgia Dermatology Partners would love to see you for an appointment in our office. Please call the office at 770-972-4845 to schedule your appointment.

Jennifer Sissom, PA-C

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