I admit it – I’m a vain person when it comes to things and hold certain beliefs based solely on what I think, not what the experts say. Case in point – my belief that the darker my skin is, the more flawless it looks, that somehow magically the cellulite I have simply vanishes and disappears into thin air. To achieve this I spent the last two years putting my health at risk and each month, very convincingly, I told myself it’s okay to bake in the sun every chance I had or to waste nearly 100 dollars on a tanning membership.
But, then it hit home. My father, who suffers from eczema, found that when he would tan, it would help dry out his skin and take the itch away. As a daddy’s girl, if he did it, then it must be okay for me to follow in his footsteps.
While I don’t have eczema, I figured my vanity could be justified.However, about a year ago my father first found suspicious spot on his leg – it turned out to be cancerous. Before I knew it one turned into two, then three, and now its endless trips to the dermatologist. We’ve been lucky, each time the cancer has been removed completely.
This was my slap in the face –my vanity isn’t worth jeopardizing my health and the experts really do know what they’re talking about. I’ve been blessed with good health - working in health care has made me realize even more, it’s not something to take lightly.So, if you’re anything like me and soaked up a little too much rays – either the sun or a tanning bed - here are a few tips from Dermatologist Paul English, MD, from Banner Desert Medical Center on how to check for skin irregularities.
- Using a full length mirror, take off your clothes and check your neck, chest, shoulder and arms, as well as under your arms and down the front of your thighs and calves.
- Examine your forearms and the backs and palms of your hands.
- Using a hand mirror, check the back of your legs, lower back and buttocks, the back of your neck and around and behind each ear, and the bottom of your feet.
- Check the top of your feet and between your toes.