To wrap up National Skin Cancer Awareness month, we are bringing you the very personal story of one of our preferred Chicago vendors, Katrina Polansky of The Sinless Tan. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
We’ll let the owner and creator of Sinless Tan tell you her story:
“It has been four years since I received the phone call from my dermatologist informing me I had been diagnosed with melanoma. I was 20 years old and the dermatologist couldn’t even believe how young I was to be diagnosed with such a terrible cancer. I was completely shocked and terrified, but now looking back why was I so shocked? I was practicing what now I preach not to do…tanning!
I went tanning just like all the other girls and never burned so I thought it was okay. I started tanning around the age 15. My mother co-signed for me, which now is one of her biggest regrets. I’ll never forget the sound of her voice or the tears she cried when I told her the news.
When I received the phone call, I had no idea what they meant and all I heard was the word ‘cancer,’ so of course I thought I was going to die—and believe me, the feeling of dying from cancer is the most horrible feeling and nothing I have ever felt before. I had my mom deal with all the phone calls and explain everything to me throughout the whole process because I just couldn’t do it. She’s also a nurse, so she explained to me what all the medical terms meant. I’m so thankful for my mom, she kept me strong.
I did avoid the news as much as I could. I didn’t want to go through with any of it and by that I mean, explaining myself to everyone, the emotions, or the surgery. The melanoma was on my face, so the surgery was not pretty. I had 22 internal and external stitches. I remember pulling up in the car to my appointment, I could not stop staring at my face, knowing it was never going to look the same with a huge scar on it. Before the surgery began, the doctor asked my mom if she wanted to sit in the room while the surgery was performed, and my mom cried and said, “No, I can’t be in here and watch my baby’s face be cut open.” And I’m really glad she chose not to because the smell and the sound of my skin burning was mortifying. I was awake for the surgery. My face was numb of course, after a needle had been injected about a dozen times with a numbing agent. The scar took months to heal; I still treat it every day. After the surgery, I was constantly asked, “What happened?” Telling the story got old, and some people were actually mean about it thinking I had gotten in a “cat fight” or if burned myself with a curling iron. I still get asked, “What happened to your face?” I know I’ll get asked about it for the rest of my life.
Melanoma has changed my life. It has inspired me to open up a business to promote the healthy alternative to tanning. I now own The Sinless Tan, where we specialize in organic custom airbrush spray tanning. When I was tanning at such a young age, it was mostly for an occasion such as prom, spring break, my birthday weekend, or a vacation. I would spend a few days a week baking myself for 20 minutes at a time, all to be tan for one night—boy, did that get me far. Since I had to stop tanning in a booth, it lead me to find a safe alternative: spray tanning. Spray tanning is incredible and I wish I would have known about it when I was a tanning fiend. My goal is reach out to as many people to make them aware of how dangerous tanning is, because I never want anyone to experience what I had to go through.”
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We couldn’t agree with Katrina more. NO ONE should have to go through having cancer, yet sadly more than two million people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults between 25 and 29 years old and the second most common in young adults ages 15 to 29. While there is no cure yet, it is extremely important and manageable to avoid sun damage. Sinless Tan can provide you that bronzed looked with none of the harmful effects, all done within 20 minutes—much better than an entire day basking in the sun.
So how do you go about getting your best custom spray tan from the Sinless Tan team? Katrina offers up her preparation tips:
- Shower and exfoliate. Use a loofah or Baiden Mitten and exfoliating soap if you can.
- Do not put any on any lotion, moisturizer, deodorant or makeup. (Coming from work and already have one of these products on? Sinless Tan has you covered. When you arrive to your appointment, they will supply the needs to remove these products before your spray tan.)
- Shave or wax BEFORE your spray tan
- Wear or bring loose clothing.
To maintain your new healthy glow, Katrina advises:
- For best results, let your spray tan soak on your skin for at least 8 hours. This means no showering, contact with water (such as swimming), or working out until 8 hours have passed.
- Your first rinse: after your spray tan has be on for 8 hours, rinse quickly, without washing your skin. Washing your hair is fine but if you don’t have to, I wouldn’t.
- Moisturize! It is important to moisturize every morning and night and even in between when possible. Do not moisturize with lotion that is scented or contains oil or alcohol, as this will remove your tan. Lotion that is natural or organic is best.
- Do not take long, hot showers. We recommend short, warm showers to preserve your tan the longest. Use moisturizing soap and try to only wash necessary areas. If you can skip the shaving, do it! Your legs will stay tan longer.
- Avoid spraying perfume or fragrance directly on your skin.
To ensure that our readers get the gorgeous tan look with none of the harmful effects, Katrina is offering 20% off any service when you mention Be U Weddings. When you stop in to the salon, be sure to pick up a rubber bracelet—all profits are going to the Melanoma Research Foundation. The bracelets are black with gold writing and say “The Sinless Tan” and “Spray 2 Save.”
Keep in mind that if you or a loved one has been affected by cancer, a great wedding favor for your guests could be a donation made in their honor. Check out cancer.org for more information . The Sinless Tan experience can also be a great bachelorette party. Contact Sinless Tan for more details! Happy spray tanning!