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  • Writer's pictureThalia Polk

6 Confessions of a Prior Sun-Worshipper

May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. This month on my blog I will be discussing all things Melanoma and skin cancer. I will cover topics such as the types of skin cancer, UVA and UVB exposure, risk assessment, and more. Be sure to check back every Saturday for a new article!


I'd like to kick this series off with a few confessions.


But first, Let me give you a little bit of background...

I grew up on the beach in Southern California. One of my first jobs was working at a tanning salon - I have worked at three and managed two. I was 25 when I last managed a tanning salon and had been worshipping the sun for about 15 years at that point.



Confession #1... I was addicted.

If I’m totally honest, saying that I worshipped the sun is an understatement. I had a legitimate addiction to sunbathing. Along with the gorgeous tan it provided.

Confession #2... I loathed sunscreen.

Because… “Why on Earth would you want to block any of the sun’s glorious rays from their gorgeous tanning provisions?!?”


I had read in a magazine that iodine makes your skin more readily acceptable (A.K.A. sensitive) to the sun’s rays. Back then, magazines were our internet. Whatever was published in them was definitely fact. So, instead of applying sunscreen, I added iodine to baby oil and slathered myself in it from head to toe. After I was nice and slathered, I would go down to the shore and lay as close to the water as possible, without getting wet - water reflects the sun’s rays beautifully, and, I didn’t want to wash off any of my precious, customized suntan oil. I would rest in my chair holding my tinfoil-wrapped cardboard box segments, in hopes of attracting as many of the sun’s rays as humanly possible. Boys? I didn’t even notice them. I was there for the rays!

Once I started working at the tanning salon, I would tan in the morning, then go to the beach. And, sometimes, I would tan before AND after going to the beach. When tanning accelerators came out, I ditched the baby oil and iodine and slathered myself in accelerator instead. My favorites were made by California Tan and Australian Gold.

During the cooler winter months, my skin got a bit of a break from the sun’s natural rays. I wore a wetsuit when surfing and didn’t lay out much. But, I used the tanning bed pretty much daily.

Confession #3... I knew the dangers.

I began working in tanning salons in 1989. Part of my training at the tanning salons always included skin cancer awareness. Additionally, I graduated from Aesthetics school in 1996. My program included an extensive unit on skin cancer. Between these two, I was not at all unaware of the potential danger I was exposing myself to.

In addition to training on skin cancer, I also received boundless training on (and taught my staff and clients about) the types of lamps used in the various tanning beds. Some had higher percentages and UVB, some had higher percentages of UVA, and some were 50/50. Different percentages of UVA and UVB provide specific results in your skin. Therefore, I was acutely aware of what I needed to do in order to create the perfect bronze I desired, and keep it. All. Year. Long.

Confession #4... I am grateful.

While I used this information to my advantage in an unhealthy way, I am grateful for all the education I received through the tanning salons as well as my extensive Aesthetics program. Thanks to this knowledge, I have been able to identify my potentially dangerous moles and catch them in the pre-malignant melanoma stage. Without my education, I would have thought nothing of them and perhaps would not be here right now to share my story with you.


Confession #5... Mom knows best.

My mom tried her best to convince me that I needed to wear sunscreen and stop using the tanning beds - that one day I was going to regret all my sun exposure.


She was absolutely right.


Today, at 48 years old, I am constantly battling the effects of my sun exposure: Thin, sensitive, dehydrated skin; hyperpigmentation, and premature fine lines and wrinkles; along with the mental and emotional burden of a Melanoma diagnosis constantly looming in my mind due to recurrent pre-cancerous melanoma lesions.

Confession #6... I am blessed.

So far, my melanoma lesions have been pre-cancerous. This means that they have been in situ and have not infiltrated beyond the epidermis. Had I not noticed them in time, they most likely would have become malignant with the possibility of systemic spread within a short time.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Because I care about you. And, to illustrate that no matter what your skin issues are, you are not alone. My skin-damaging, sun-worshipping, tanning addiction is just one of the reasons I am so passionate about taking care of my skin AND YOURS! I genuinely hope that I provide you with the support, encouragement and knowledge you seek on your skin journey. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. You can leave your comments right here in this post or email me at thaliapolkesthetics@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!

 

I am all about aging gracefully and naturally, embracing our God-given beauty on the outside as well as on the inside. Every product I use professionally and personally is all-natural, botanical based, environmentally friendly, clean, and non-toxic - keeping our skin and body systems - looking, feeling, and working beautifully!

I also believe that the best way to succeed on your skin journey is with a partnership approach. Whether you are looking to maintain the current condition of your skin, tackle a specific issue like acne or rosacea, or combat the effects of aging, we can put together a plan based on realistic goals that work for your lifestyle and budget. And, I will be with you every step of the way, providing support, guidance, and encouragement throughout the journey!

It would be an honor to help you achieve your skin goals!


To view my entire menu of services, visit my website. Contact me anytime at thaliapolkesthetics@gmail.com, or DM me via Instagram or Facebook. I’ll get you set up with a comprehensive consultation and skin analysis, and we'll sail off on your skin transformation journey together!


XOXO,

Thalia

 

Would you like to get a jump start on taking care of your skin before summer comes or learn a little bit about the skin in general? Check out these articles I've written:

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