A MUM who would use sunbeds to banish her winter blues has urged people to use fake tan instead after she was diagnosed with skin cancer.
Paris Tippett used sunbeds on and off from the age of 18, but started going twice-weekly for up to 14 minutes a session last year.
Paris Tippett used sunbeds on and off from the age of 18 and upped her sessions after the coronavirus lockdown Credit: Kennedy News
A mark appeared on her shin and Paris noticed it when she was moisturising her legs ones day Credit: Kennedy News
Paris, who is mum to three-year-old Saskia Brown said she will be sticking to the fake tan from now on Credit: Kennedy News
The 25-year-old said that while the beds gave her the summer glow she wanted, they also helped her through her down patches including when she experienced seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
People who suffer from the condition display normal mental health through most of the year but become depressed during a specific season – most commonly winter.
Experts were initially sceptical about SAD but it is now recognised as a common disorder.
After four months of regular tanning sessions the masseuse business owner spotted a tiny freckle on her right shin while moisturising her legs.
Paris, who is mum to three-year-old Saskia Brown, went to her GP and was referred to skin specialists who whipped off the freckle for a biopsy.
Just two weeks later she was given the devastating news that it was cancerous and she had stage-two melanoma.
Paris, from Crowthorne, Berkshire, said: “I first started using sunbeds when I was 18 as I wanted to try them. From then I've just gone in and out of using them in my life.
“I haven't used them solidly every week of my life, I tend to use them just before I go on holiday or for summer.
“They also make me feel a bit better. Sometimes when I've been feeling a bit down in the past, I get SAD and it has made me feel like it's helping me.
“When the doctor told me it was melanoma, a vicious one, I just sat there and was beside myself. I just cried and said 'is this terminal?'”
After beauty salons reopened following Covid restrictions last year, Paris decided to take advantage of sunbeds once more as she wasn’t sure if they would close their doors again.
She said: “From last summer I upped it to two [sessions] a week, sometimes three for 12-14 minutes a time over the course of four months, and that's when a little freckle on my shin came up that winter.”
Paris visited her GP in June who referred her to Frimley Park Hospital in Frimley, Surrey.
Paris said she has a lot of freckles on her legs and a few moles on her thigh – but none on her shin.
I was just so worried. I was so petrified when I got the results, it was like I'd been put in someone else's life. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy
She kept an eye on the mark but continued to use sunbeds, but placed a plaster over it.
Paris said: “I went to the doctors and they weren't really concerned at all as it was a perfect circle and not really dark.
“The skin specialist at the hospital checked me from head to toe and said it was the only one that looked a little bit different but she wasn't really concerned.
“But she said that because it was new and I didn't feel comfortable with it, it could be removed if I wanted.
“I know my body and I just got that feeling and I knew something just wasn't right.”
On July 20, Paris had surgery to remove the freckle and had to wait two weeks to get the results.
She said: “I was a little bit apprehensive about getting it removed, but it was better than leaving it.
“Waiting a couple of weeks for the results to come back was just hell.
“I wasn't myself, I was all over the place. I couldn't focus on work, I couldn't concentrate at the gym – I would just go and sit there, I couldn't focus.
“I was just so worried. I was so petrified when I got the results, it was like I'd been put in someone else's life. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.”
Three weeks later on August 24, Paris had to have a second surgery where her lymph nodes were removed and a wider section of tissue was taken to ensure it hadn't spread any further – even going down to the bone on her shin.
Paris, who runs massage therapy business P.Y.T Treatments, said: “Stage two melanoma is a fast-spreading cancer. It's all about time with melanoma, if you catch it fast you're lucky.
“This mole was probably only on my body for six months and I had to go through what I had to go through and that was really lucky.
“Whereas if it had been there for years it could have spread to my lungs, it might have got in my blood, you just don't know.
“I'm so thankful I did listen to my body and got it removed.”
Paris explained that she had really struggled with the diagnosis, but described getting the all-clear as ‘winning the lottery’.
Paris said: “When they said I was all clear it was priceless, it felt like I'd won the lottery, you can't put a price on it.”
Paris will now have to have regular check ups and has vowed to never use the beds again and says she ‘couldn’t believe’ that sunbeds could do this.
She said: “I'll never get on one ever again, it's not worth it.
“The thing with melanoma is you dont know you've got it, it's a silent killer. It doesn't show necessarily in a mole – it can be a patch of skin, uneven patch of skin.
“I would say to anyone who is thinking of using sunbeds to invest in an amazing tan – there are some amazing tans out there. It'll be fake tan only from now on.”
Paris said that she 'didn't know' that sunbeds could have this impact Credit: Kennedy News
Paris had to have surgery to get the melanoma removed from her shin Credit: Kennedy News
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