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No Tan Worth Dying For

By: Jamie Len Cumbo

NO TAN IS WORTH DYING FOR

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If only I had known the consequences I would have to pay to have a tan, I would have protected myself much more from the sun over the years.

The sun bathing in baby oil, frequent visits to the tanning bed to get a base tan before vacation, and forgetting to apply sunscreen even day would not be worth it… had I known.

The good news is that after more than three decades of tougher regulations that have been in the works to warn consumers of the sun’s harmful rays, the FDA issued a final regulation yesterday that will now require manufacturers to test and label sunscreens. This is huge!

The new rules will ban the use of the terms “sun block,” “waterproof” and “sweat proof”. Instead, sunscreens can be labeled as “water resistant” but must specify how long it lasts. These regulations will take place by the summer of 2012. In addition, other regulations are being proposed about SPF’s more than 50 because they do not show evidence of being any more effective than SPF 50.

Skin cancer is the most common form of all cancers.

Everyone thinks it can’t happen to them. As a melanoma survivor (the most deadly form of skin cancer), I am ecstatic these regulations were passed this week, to help the public become more aware of the dangers of sun exposure and how to protect themselves with sunscreen. To simplify, here are some tips that can help save your life.

1. IF YOU SEE A SPOT… CALL A DOC.
Know what to look for. This absolutely saved my life. If you have any of the following, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.

a. A new mole that suddenly appears
b. A mole that looks completely different than all the other moles on your body
c. A mole that bleeds, itches, or changes shape
d. Know the ABCD’s of skin cancer. Check out www.SCANFoundation.com for more details.

2. SAVE YOUR SKIN The sunburn you are getting today is the skin cancer you will have in 20 years. Skin cancer takes a long time to develop but there are things you can do each day to protect yourself.

a. Wear a hat, sunglasses, light clothing
b. Avoid tanning beds
c. Avoid long amounts of time in the sun between 10am-2pm, when the sun’s rays are the strongest
d. Wear sunscreen EVERY DAY. That includes cloudy days and in the winter.
e. If you plan to be in the sun for long amounts of time, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours

Had these new FDA sunscreen regulations been put into effect over 33 years ago when they were first proposed, thousands of lives could have possibly been saved.

Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to catch my melanoma in the early stages, where the survival rate is much higher. Hopefully these new regulations will help make others take the sun more seriously. For someone who loves the sun, I actually love the dozens of scars I have all over my body from bad moles that have been removed which serve as a constant reminder to protect my skin. A tan is just not worth it.

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