Many people have enjoyed tanning in their lives, whether taking a nap in the sun or visiting a tanning salon. A good tan can give you a healthy-looking glow, but that doesn't always mean that it's the healthiest thing for your skin. If you regularly tan, or you've previously had a tanning habit in the past, you should strongly consider visiting a dermatologist for your skin and your overall health's sake. Here's why.
Short and Long-Term Damage
Everyone knows that the sun and tanning beds alike can cause damage to your skin in the short term. An excessive amount of UV radiation can cause skin burns, leading to your skin peeling, itching, and generally looking bad. However, even if you gave up tanning years ago, that doesn't mean that your skin is past its damaged state.
UV radiation causes cellular damage to the skin. In essence, when you spend a lot of time in the sun or a tanning bed and get a tan, it can damage the DNA of your skin cells. This can lead to skin cells replicating incorrectly, ultimately mutating into cancer like melanoma. Unfortunately, this means that even if you haven't tanned in many years, you may still be at an increased risk of skin cancer.
Difficulty With Detection
While it's easy enough to spot abnormal moles in certain areas, it's not always easy or practical to do so if you need to look at your whole body. Moles themselves tend to be small, and finding an abnormally shaped one can be difficult even with a mirror right in front of your face. If you have to try and find and inspect one that's somewhere else on your body, like the back of your neck or lower body, it can lead to suspicious moles not being caught early on. Melanoma is typically very treatable, but it's imperative that it's detected as early as possible.
The good news is that dermatologists are here for you. Dermatologists are pros at everything to do with the skin, and can easily detect suspicious moles and other patches of skin damage that look like they could spell trouble later on. These visual inspections can be supplemented by taking small samples of your skin to have tested at a lab, which allows them to determine if the skin is cancerous or not with certainty. From there, you can either seek treatment or breathe a sigh of relief knowing that your skin is in good health.
As an added bonus, dermatologists are also experts at managing and improving skin conditions. Tanning can lead to accelerated skin aging, so if you're not happy with the look of your skin, your dermatologist can recommend products and services that will get you looking healthier and younger.