Last week I came across an article about prom tanning in the 90's and the current spike in melanoma cases in women ages 25-34. I went to prom in 1993, 1994 and 1995. I didn't tan prior to prom. I look back, and even though they were in April, I am fairly pale in those pictures. My skin looks very even toned and healthy.
I already had a relationship with the tanning bed at that time. My mom and I went to get our base tans before spring and summer breaks in maybe 1991 and 1992. As I've said before, she would get very dark, I wouldn't get so dark. Although, I remember fall of freshman year, wearing a warm up suit to school. Hush! it was the style then. I wore a tank top under the jacket, it was blue and really showed off my tan. I remember the guy next to me in Language Arts class calling me "fake" My hair was colored, I had fake nails, and I was extremely tan after a summer at the tanning bed, pool or at the lake. He asked me what was real about me. I did not like the guy before this, I really didn't like him after that. But here I am, 20 years later, I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. I hate to admit it, but he may have reached me on a subconscious level. I think that was when my time in the tanning bed transitioned from trying to tan, to trying to just get that alleged safer base tan.
Back to prom. I do remember trying not to get tan lines before prom my sophomore year. I was wearing a strapless dress. My mom passed away shortly after sophomore prom, and after that, I lost interest in the tanning bed almost completely. Junior year my dress had several spaghetti straps that crossed in the back, and I remember my friends giving me a hard time for wearing a long sleeve shirt at a track meet at FSU, in order to avoid tan lines. Senior year my dress was sleeveless, but in the back it had a very detailed beaded design that just looked better with pale skin, versus the freckles that would "pop" if I tried to tan.
All that being said, I almost would call myself an early bloomer as far as tanning in high school was concerned. Maybe I need to find that jerk who called me fake (among other things over the course of 3 years prior to this), and thank him for putting that bug in my ear. Not that I want to give him credit, but I know that he was the only person to point out to me that I was too tan. Who knows how much more damage I would have done if I continued through high school tanning that way? I am not saying I didn't damage further by continuing tanning for the base tan at all, but it was no longer extreme tanning for me after that. I don't blame prom tanning, but I definitely blame my sun habits my entire life, and tanning bed habits from 1990-1993 and then off and on from 2001-2005 for my melanoma. The article states that "The latency period from the time of intensified exposure to the appearance of melanoma is 5-20 years" My diagnosis was in 2010.