www.whyville.net Jun 13, 2003 Weekly Issue

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Tanning: Good or Bad?

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Hey... Dazzl3d here! Many of you don't know who I am, because I rarely come on anymore, but I still do manage to log on, check my mail, read the Times, and do my own thing.  Just about 5 minutes ago, I read TIKE's article on tanning, and thought about some of his comments. While he was right when he said the sun can have a good and bad effect on you skin, I must say that, in my opinion, the sun has more of a *bad* effect. My mother always told me that tanning will give me wrinkles and cause skin cancer. That's why I'm not allowed to go to a tanning salon. I can still hear my mom's words, "Why do you want to tan? It only causes wrinkles and skin cancer! Look at me, I never tanned and now I'm 42 and people think I'm 20!" ringing in my head. This is true -- my mom occasionally gets mistaken for my sister when we shop -- but that's beside the point.

I took the Editor's advice and looked up skin cancer on the net. I was surprised when I discovered some statistics for this year. An estimated 9,800 people will die of skin cancer this year. Is the sun a major cause of skin cancer? The answer to that is yes. Many people think they can just apply sunscreen and tan. This way they won't burn, but will get a good base tan. Sound like a good idea? It may sound like a good idea, but remember, "There's no such thing as a safe tan!" Oh no, my mother's voice ringing in my head again! Sunlight has ultraviolet (UV) rays will increase your risk of cancer. UV rays are most harmful when your shadow is shorter than you are; you will most likely burn.

Ever hear of Melanoma? It is the most deadly form of skin cancer, and approximately one person dies of melanoma every hour of every day! That adds up to A LOT of deaths!

Now let's get to *avoiding* skin cancer. Experts say you should have at least 15 SPF sunscreen. Oh yes, sunscreen! That little invention they have that helps prevent you from burning... but how many of us actually use it? A recent survey says that people under the age of 25 are less cautious of the risks of the sun. Also, in the same survey, only 69 percent of men think sunscreen is necessary when tanning, compared to 80 percent of women. However, men are also less likely to reapply sunscreen (50 percent).

Ahh yes, reapply! Reapplying that sunscreen is a must. But make sure when you apply the *first* time that you completely cover your skin -- that is, well, uncovered. Heh heh, tell that one to my dad, who, when he puts sunscreen on his stomach, misses a lot of areas and ends up all spotted. Getting colored sunscreen can help prevent you from looking like my dad, but many of you probably think that that purple Coppertone sunscreen is just too babyish, am I right?

After reading this, some of you are probably thinking "I don't care! I want my tan!" I say go ahead and get your tan. But just be aware of the risks. And for you people that keep forgetting about that invention called sunscreen (Wow! When did they invent that!?), just remember that when your skin is all burnt, it will peel... and it is *not* attractive. So you'll have a nice tan, but will look like a shedding snake.

There are alternative ways of getting that fashionable tan, like sunless tanners... you know, that bronze stuff that comes in a bottle and dyes your skin when you put it on? But just be aware that its just not right for some people. It may streak, leaving lines on your skin, and is sometimes just too orangy. I myself have never used a sunless tanner, but one of my friends did, big mistake, but it may be right for you, especially if your parents are as cautious about tanning as mine are.

I may be a hypocrite sometimes when it comes to tanning, because you'll occasionally catch me soaking up the sun, lounging by the pool, and I mean, who can resist!? It just feels so great to have the sun shining on your body, but I hope my article will make you think twice, because after I did my research, I know I will!

This is Dazzl3d, signing off.  Remember to stay safe in the hot sun! =D


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