Ignore tanning risks at your own peril

By Michelle Ryland

In response to Katie Dunne’s column about indoor tanning – take it from me, having a healthy glow (minus the orange tint) year-round is not worth the health risks.

I started tanning when I was 14. I heard the health risks and the clichés of “fake’n’bake” and “buying cancer” but I was a firm believer that as long as I did not burn, there was nothing to worry about.

After moving to CU over three years ago, I discovered that tanning packages were much cheaper here than back home, and I went tanning as often as I could – still making sure that I never burned. Many of my friends shook their heads when I told them I went tanning, but I constantly assured them that, “I’m fine as long as I don’t burn. Don’t worry – I don’t over-do it.”

In the past several months, I’ve noticed that I have more moles on my skin than I used to have and ALL of them look exactly like they are not supposed to look. I finally started to worry.

Two weeks ago, I went to a dermatologist. I’ll be going back soon to have several moles surgically removed and tested for skin cancer.

Although I don’t know if I have skin cancer, the look on my dermatologist’s face after he examined me was absolutely terrifying. I’m 20 years old and the chance of me having a life-threatening disease is very real. And I finally see it.

So don’t be like me and ignore the statistics and the facts for over six years.

Sure, getting vitamin D from the sun is probably better than from a supplement, and I personally prefer to avoid the pale end of the color spectrum, but it had to come to this for me to see that it’s not worth my life.

Michelle Ryland

Senior in FAA