Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, my friends and I heard about the affects of tanning beds and the sun, but that didn’t stop us. We’d lather up with baby oil, tanning magnifier, spray our hair with Sun-In, grab the tin foil, and (literally) bake in the driveway.
Before prom, you bet your ass most of us got a month-long membership to the local tanning bed. Sometimes we’d meet there after school, then go out for ice cream together. It was blissful and we were in denial because, as you know, when you are sixteen, something like skin cancer is never going to happen to you.
Of course, now we all wish we could go back and erase the damage it has done.
One thing we didn’t have? Brave women like Mallory Lubbock who is a mother of two and posted a candid photo of herself after she had a cancerous spot removed from her face. That might have given us teenagers the kick in the ass we needed to rethink our fake-n-bake ways.
Seeing her reality puts this serious issue front and center and makes it real. Because it is real. Instead of women and girls thinking it won’t happen to them, Lubbock warns it very well can happen to you and says her skin cancer is likely from spending time in tanning beds as a teenager.
And this ultra painful procedure isn’t where it stops for Lubbock, who is only 26 years old. This is the beginning of a lifetime of having to be thoroughly checked to make sure this is the only dangerous spot. She will always be worried.
In her post, she writes how she will have to endure “routine checks for life, and almost 100% certainly many more painful ass appointments of getting skin cancer taken off my body.”
She goes on to say she went tanning every day for two years as a teenager and wants her daughter to see what can happen, and will make sure she doesn’t go lie in a tanning bed as long as “she is under my roof.”
Lubbock hopes just seeing what she has had to go through lately will repel her daughter, and all other women and girls, from tanning beds. And that it will encourage them to use sunscreen religiously.
I showed this picture to my teen daughter. She loves the sun because she says lying in it feels good, but she also is a teenager and loves the way she looks when she gets a tan in the summer.
When you think about how Lubbock spent only two years of her life tanning, but for the rest of her life, she has the stress and worry that comes with having to be checked for skin cancer.
The scary reality is it could happen to any one of us even if we’ve never set foot in a tanning bed. We’ve all had times when we decided skipping sunscreen a few times a year to get a healthy glow would be safe.
We hope this is all Lubbock and her family have to go through, but I applaud her for sharing these pictures and making skin cancer removal so real. If it saves a few people, and makes us think twice before going into a tanning booth, these pictures and her post have served their purpose.
Thank you, Mallory.