An Indianapolis, Indiana, woman shared shocking photos of the effects tanning beds had on her skin.
Judy Cloud posted her story on Facebook, revealing that she used tanning beds as a teenager and never took proper care of her skin.
"This is the result of having numerous sunburns as a child and teen, and not being religious about applying sunscreen, and staying out in the sun far too long as a teen and into my 20’s and even early 30’s," she wrote in the lengthy post.
Cloud was first diagnosed with skin cancer in 1995, and has endured four surgeries to remove spots of basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is caused by long-term sun exposure.
Cloud's post includes shocking before and after photos showing the damaging effects of the skin cancer.
"I hear too many people say that they feel better about how they look after they go to a tanning bed or after they bake in the sun for hours on end," she wrote. "Look at the pictures. This could be you. Anyone can get skin cancer, even people who have darker skin tones. It is a misconception that only fair-skinned people can get skin cancer."
"Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate," she continued. "I have scars from previous surgeries, but the scars from this surgery are worse than my previous scars. The cancer was deeper, the incisions were longer." The cost for her latest surgery was $26,845.87.
Cloud told Self she felt compelled to share the photos after her most recent surgery.
"My 20-year-old self would never share [these pictures] and my 30-year-old self would never share them, but when my doctor said I was going to have another surgery, I said, ‘I’m going to document it this time and post it afterwards,'" she said. "I never thought I would show myself on Facebook without makeup on let alone without makeup on and looking so injured. But, I’m old enough now to know this is needed.”
The mother of two and legal assistant said she spends her lunch hour responding to messages from people who have shared their own stories, as well as those who've thanked her for inspiring them to stop using tanning beds and to take better care of their skin.
"I see too many young girls and teenagers who are tanned year round, and I know what they’re doing to their skin," she told Self.
"I just want people to not think it won’t happen to them. If it does not show up right away, it could show up down the road, and it’s not going to be pretty and it’s not going to be fun. People don’t need to die for a tan.”