Woman Posts Graphic Selfie To Show Skin Cancer Caused By Tanning Beds

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It's no secret tanning, indoors or out, is the leading cause of skin cancer.

Yet come summer, many of us still lounge under the scorching sun for hours, willfully ignoring the potentially deadly repercussions.

Tawny Willoughby was one of those people: a self-confessed sun-worshipper who tanned four to five times per week.

But at 21, she was diagnosed with skin cancer for the first time. That was six years ago.

Since then, she's been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on five different occasions and squamous cell carcinoma once.

Recently, Willoughby took to Facebook to post a graphic photo of what skin cancer really looks like, in the hopes of deterring others from making the same mistakes she did. In the photo, the 27-year-old's face is covered with bloody, oozing scabs and patches of raw skin; it is not pretty.

Willoughby, who now has a 2-year-old son, wrote that today she visits the dermatologist every six to 12 months “and usually has skin cancer removed at each checkup.”

The Alabama native reportedly said,

Wear sunscreen and get a spray tan. You only get one skin and you should take care of it. Learn from other people's mistakes.

Her photo, which was posted to Facebook last month, has been shared thousands of times and picked up by several news outlets.

Her message is an important one and more relevant than ever with summer approaching: Statistics indicate 20 percent of Americans will develop skin cancer at some point.

Don't be that one. Protect yourself.

As a teen in Kentucky, Willoughby tanned up to five times per week.

She shared this photo to Facebook to encourage others to avoid making the same mistakes she made.

She wrote, "This is what skin cancer treatment looks like... Don't be a statistic."

Now 27 and married, Willoughby gets checked for cancer every six to 12 months.

She continued, "Don't let tanning prevent you from seeing your children grow up."

Citations: Tawny Willoughby Shares Graphic Selfie To Warn On Skin Cancer (Daily Mail)