Mortgaging your health for a little pigment

When it comes to tanning, the cliche You reap what you sow can be all too true.

As we wait patiently for warm weather and sunshine, it is important to remember the risks involved with overexposure to sunlight. To help raise skin-cancer awareness, the University’s dermatology department offered free-skin examinations on Monday.

More than 300 people acted on the opportunity for a free skin examination on Melanoma Monday. The national event helps to educate people about how to sight early signs of skin cancer and also teaches overexposure prevention. Skin cancer is something many people don’t worry about but should. Spreading awareness can only create a more cautious society that will be able to help prevent and sight dangers.

People need to remember that sunlight is not only dangerous during the summer but during all seasons. Ultraviolet rays come with all forms of sunlight, even if skin is not burned.

Also, many people don’t worry about cancer at a young age, especially skin cancer. College students smoke but assume it won’t affect them later in life, because they plan on quitting after college. The scary thing about skin cancer is the effects the sun has on young skin, which creates skin that will later in life be less likely to heal itself. People are willing to take great pains for a great tan now but risk having wrinkly, if not cancerous, skin later. Unfortunately, students doing something without considering later consequences is not unique to cancer prevention.

Tanning beds are a huge factor in increasing the risk of skin cancer in young people. Many people think a controlled tan is a safe tan, but that isn’t always the answer. Tanning beds are just as harmful as being in the sun. The scariest bit is that some start tanning as early as junior high. Over the years, the damage adds up.

There are plenty of other options to getting a great-looking tan without the damage. Many tanning salons offer some form of spray-on tan that looks real, though it can be costly. Drugstores offer self-tanners. If applied correctly, they can also look great.

It is getting a bit ridiculous what people are willing to sacrifice for cosmetic reasons. What we choose to do to our bodies now will affect our futures, whether we like to believe it or not.