Warning: There is a graphic photograph of skin cancer treatment in this post.
Tawny Willoughby is a 27-year-old who currently works as a registered nurse.
She has a two-year-old son, and began visiting tanning beds in high school.
“I probably laid [in a tanning bed] an average of 4-5 times a week,” she posted to her Facebook page. “I laid frequently because my tan faded very fast.”
According to skincancer.org, it’s estimated that 2.3 million teens visit a tanning salon at least once a year. With prom and graduation season in full swing, it’s more important than ever to highlight tanning’s dangers.
“I never laid in the tanning bed and in the sun in the same day,” Willoughby continued. “I never laid in the tanning bed twice in one day.”
These precautions were not enough to prevent the young woman from getting skin cancer: she has been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma five times, and squamous cell carcinoma once. She sees the dermatologist every six months.
Willoughby posted the following photo to Facebook as a warning to those who aren’t protecting their skin:
“You only get one skin and you should take care of it. Learn from other people’s mistakes. Don’t let tanning prevent you from seeing your children grow up,” she said.
Caucasian women between the ages of 16 and 29 account for 70 percent of those who use indoor tanning services, amounting to millions of women putting their lives on the line. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the UV rays used in tanning beds have been reclassified as class II (moderate to high risk) by the FDA in the past year.
Willoughby’s message is clear: think twice before you jump in the booth.