Did you know that Coco Chanel may be solely responsible for the tanning craze that started in the 1920’s? After a holiday in the French Riviera she was seen sporting a tan. And that was that. Up until the past few decades a tan was seen as a sign of decadence only achieved by those who holiday in some exotic locale or of course by children running amuck all summer long.
When we were kids we were told to go outside and play all day, the sun was good for us. There was never a mention of sunscreen unless we were going to the beach, and only then because we didn’t want to be red as lobsters afterwards. There was never a concern as to what damage the sun could do to our skin. As the impact of sun damage became more apparent over time, and products for sun protection started to improve, the fascination with deep, dark tans slowly started to fade.
Today still, only about 70% of the population is aware of the damage caused by sun exposure. Sunscreen use has been slowly growing over the past two decades, yet the rate for melanoma is growing faster than any other cancer. Darker skin types feel that if they don’t burn they don’t need sunscreen, and our youth are still under the spell that a tan is a beautiful thing.
Some interesting, and maybe a little frightening facts about consumers:
– 70 percent believe that sunlight causes premature aging, but only 18 percent use a daily UV-protecting moisturizer
– Less than 5 percent use recreational sun protection on a regular basis
– Even in summer, when the risk of burning is more obvious, only 58 percent of women report using sunscreen daily, while 26 percent report never using sunscreen at all
– In autumn, winter and spring, about 33 percent of women use sunscreen
Overall, these are pretty scary numbers. We can’t use the excuse that we are uninformed anymore. Reports are abundant on the negative effects of not wearing sunscreen. Premature aging, skin cancers and excessive sun spots make up the majority of our patients. We have to educate ourselves and stop thinking that applying sunscreen is just a nuisance and stop thinking “it won’t happen to me”. Because it will. Inevitably the free radical damage from the sun will cause damage in one form or another.
~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre