At Luna Bronze, we're passionate about promoting a safe approach to tanning. Whilst bronzed skin is not an indicator of good health, we feel a good faux tan can boost confidence and complete an outfit.
Here, our co-founder shares her story about her brush with skin cancer that became the catalyst to the creation of Luna Bronze. We hope that this personal anecdote helps you to be more informed of the risks of sun tanning and the reason we started the Tanning, Minus the Sun movement.
Just like most people my age, my younger years were spent at the beach and lazily applying sun protection. I would sun bake for hours using all sort of tanning oils and just didn’t give skin cancer any thought, despite my family history with skin cancers. I often think to myself, if only I could warn my younger self about the damage I was causing to my skin and health at the time.
Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCCs) are the most common form of skin cancer (they account for almost 70% of non-melanoma skin cancers) and mainly occur on the face and neck. I had never even heard of them, let alone realised the damage that they can cause - especially to the face and ears if left untreated.
My BCCs first appeared when I was 25 and went undiagnosed for 2 years. BCCs often have no symptoms and tend to grow slowly. Mine were very non-descript; the one on my jaw area looked like a small discoloured patch of skin about the size of my pinky nail, and there was absolutely nothing visible on my eyebrow.
I only consulted my GP about these odd skin issues after they both started randomly bleeding. Even then, my GP advised me on two occasions that it was most likely just dermatitis and nothing to worry about. The random bleeding went on for about another year and I carried on thinking nothing of it until I went to my beautician for a facial. She was very suspicious about the patch on my jaw and advised me to get a second opinion.
The following week, I went to a new GP, got a referral to a Dermatologist, had a biopsy and days later I was diagnosed with 2 x Basal Cell Carcinomas. One infiltrating (jaw) which required immediate surgery to be removed, and one non-infiltrating (eyebrow) which was treated with a topical cream over a 2 month period.
Since the affected area on my jaw was only small (about 1cm), I was naive enough to assume that this would be fine and would only require a very small incision with minimal scarring, however, my plastic surgeon had to cut through either side and remove the cancerous cells from underneath and around it so the incision, and scar, turned out to be more than an inch long.
Due to my jaw BCC being an infiltrating BCC and it’s proximity with my lymph nodes I was then referred onto The Melanoma Institute with the possibility of requiring radiation treatment. My doctors were not sure that the surgery had successfully removed all of the cancerous cells and had infiltrated further down my throat. Due to my young age and some other timing issues, we decided to not go ahead with radiation treatment and to instead closely monitor my neck for any changes or growths. I was required back for check ups every 6 months for 2 years and eventually cleared for no further treatment.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones as in terms skin cancers, a BCC is probably the best you can get, however due to the locations that they are likely to pop up, what people (especially young people) don’t realise is that they can be disfiguring. My scar is hidden under my jaw but the damage to my face could have been a lot worse had it been in a more prominent spot. All that damage just to be tanned.
I now have my skin regularly checked, have bought a SPF rated umbrella and I am religious about sun protection. I still go to the beach as much as ever and I get outdoors but I now try to limit my sun exposure, especially during the hottest parts of the days or just stay parked under my umbrella and of course apply Luna Bronze for my sunless tan.
Excerpt from Cancer Council Australia
Types of skin cancer
- Basal Cell Carcinoma
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- Melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer
Both Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinomas are known as 'Non Melanoma' skin cancers.
Approximatley two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
Causes of skin cancer
Sunburn causes 95% of melanomas. Even sun exposure that doesn't result in sunburn can still cause damage to skin cells and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
Tanning is a sign that you have been exposed to enough UV radiation (from the sun or from a solarium) to damage your skin. Some people who use fake tans mistakenly believe that they are protected from UV radiation. As a result, they may not use adequate sun protection, putting them at greater risk of skin cancer.
It is important to remember that Luna Bronze does not contain any sun protection and we strongly recommend that you always use our products in conjunction with sun protection measures.
Read more at Cancer Council Australia www.cancer.org.au