This post was inspired by a couple recent articles I read on UV damage and UV protection. One of them talked about sun-bedding and attempts to introduce age restrictions on sun bed use in New Zealand and Australia (nzherald.co.uk). Why age restriction? Because very often due to complete unawareness (or maybe wrong priorities) people under 18 bake themselves to a crisp in sun beds as well as on the beach. They don’t know (or maybe don’t want to know) of the damage UV rays are causing their skin. Using sun beds at such an age, according to a research by WHO increases their chances of developing melanoma by 75%. Shocking, isn’t it?
You will understand my concerns and frustration if you have a younger sister who thinks going to a solarium is a great way "to prepare" your skin for the upcoming beach vacation as well as to keep that sun tan lasting longer after the vacation is over. Why shouldn’t she think so, if up till now sun beds are still advertised to consumers as a “healthy” way to get bronze skin as well as to protect it from sunburns caused by sun exposure. Or maybe you have a friend who thinks that sunbathing is like a contest - prize goes to the darkest one. When back home, she can boast about her dark skin color to everyone and feel that her money was not wasted on an overseas vacation, she made a good use of that time under the sun. Another one of my friends liked how smooth her skin started to look after a couple solarium sessions. So what she did was get a membership and "cook" herself without even using a moisturizer on her skin afterwards. The result was that in a couple months she looked like a chimney-sweeper. And only after constant nagging on my side, this nightmare stopped. (The price factor also helped of course.) One of the friends mentioned above already has a child. What attitude do you think this kid will develop towards sun exposure?
Please, educate yourself and your kids early on about sun damage. Don’t think “bad things never happen to me”. The truth is once in a while they do and then there is little you can do about it but hope and spread your story and ask people not to repeat your mistakes.