People, caucasians mostly, all love to have that “sunkissed” look but after reading her story, you might want to reconsider it. Tanning beds won’t just age you prematurely, because they can actually KILL you!
But why do countless people won’t stop tanning?
I had my own personal tanning bed at home, and so did a lot of my friends growing up… Everyone tanned. I didn’t really even think about the future or skin cancer at the time.”
After one of her classmates in nursing school was diagnosed with melanoma, Tawny made her first dermatology appointment at age 21. And the result? She had skin cancer.
Now, the 27 year old, Tawny, says she has had basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once. She goes to the dermatologist every 6 to 12 months and usually has a cancerous piece of skin removed at each checkup.
She’s become a cautionary tale about the hazards of tanning beds, thanks to a selfie she posted on Facebook, last month. The grisly image, taken after one of her cancer treatments, shows her face covered with bloody scabs and blisters. It’s since been shared almost 50,000 times.
If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here ya go! This is what skin cancer treatment can look like. Wear sunscreen and get a spray tan. You only get one skin and you should take care of it,” she wrote in a post along with the photo.
According to CNN, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Exposure to tanning beds increases the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, said the academy, which reports that more than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year are linked to indoor training.
Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for adults 25-29 years old and the second-most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old, according to the academy. Warning signs include changes in size, shape or color of a mole or other lesion, the appearance of a new growth on the skin or a sore that doesn’t heal.
Risk factors for all types of skin cancer include skin that burns easily, blond or red hair and a history of excessive sun exposure, including sunburns and tanning-bed use — dangers that the blonde, blue-eyed Tawny now knows all too well.
Tawny, who is in fact, a registered nurse who now lives in northern Alabama, said she never expected the Facebook picture of her damaged face to go viral. But she’s excited to think her story might save someone’s life.
I’ve lost count of how many people shared it now and told me I’ve helped them. It’s really cool to hear people say they won’t tan anymore. I’ve had mothers thank me after sharing my pictures with their daughters. People in my hometown said they are selling their tanning beds. I never thought about the future when I was in high school. I just wanted to get tanned because it was normal to me.”
Tawny, knows she’ll deal with the consequences of tanning for the rest of her life. She’s at high risk for developing melanoma but is now doing everything she can to ensure that she’s around for her husband, Cody, and their young son, Kayden, for years to come.
So, as what she wrote on Facebook,
Learn from other people’s mistakes. Don’t let tanning prevent you from seeing your children grow up. That’s my biggest fear now that I have a two-year-old little boy of my own.”