Now that it appears the sun might actually shine a little in these parts, it’s time for us pasty-faced Oregonians to consider when and how we expose our skin to ultraviolet rays. It’s because it feels so good to be warmed by the sun that we forget how habit-forming tanning can be for some people.
Many people think a tan protects them by helping block the damaging effects of UV radiation. That’s wrong, as a tan actually represents skin damage. Even brief exposure to ultraviolet light can cause mutations in the DNA of skin cells, including the melanocytes, the host cells for melanoma. Accumulate enough of those mutations and a cancer can result. It did for me.