This is a deadly serious subject and one that I'm qualified to rag on about because about 10 years ago, I had a mole on my leg that started changing a little. When I went to get it looked at by a dermatologist, he tried to act pretty calm, but I could see that he was alarmed by it. By the way, it wasn't even very big or scary-looking, but it had a light colored ring around it and it was slightly raised. So he cut it off and sent it in to the lab. A couple of days later (he rushed it through to get a quick answer), I got a call from his assistant saying that I had a malignant melanoma and had to have more skin removed from around the original site immediately.
It really wasn't a big deal and I was lucky that it was removed early before it had a chance to spread (it's cured 100%), but now, of course, I'm leery of every mole and freckle because people actually die from melanoma. Bob Marley died from melanoma! Almost 69,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma and over 8,500 people are expected to die from it in 2009. Of course, I'm sure Bob Marley never used a tanning bed and there are certainly other ways that skin cancer begins to grow besides tanning beds, but doesn't the fact that so many more (50% increase since 1980) skin cancer cases are in young women tell you something? Young men don't use tanning beds as much as young women and they haven't shown the same rise in melanoma incidence.
I have no doubt that the skin cancer I had was caused by the use of tanning beds when I was in my bodybuilding competition days. Truthfully, it's pretty dumb to tan for a contest because everybody uses a really dark skin dye on the day they compete anyway--even those with naturally dark skin such as African Americans, so it's a complete waste of effort.
Anyway, I hope you've all read by now that international cancer experts are confirming in an announcement published in the medical journal Lancet Oncology that tanning beds and the ultraviolet radiation they put out are as poisonous as arsenic. They literally described it as poison and said that they are at about the same level of cancer-causing danger as cigarettes. Personally, I think tanning beds are much worse than cigarettes and I really hate cigarettes. Also, they've said that people who use tanning beds before age 30 increase their risk of skin cancer by 75%.
So, can't we all just learn to love natural skin color whatever color it happens to be?