Don’t accuse a plus size woman of hating on herself just because she refuses to wear a bikini; ever consider she might’ve had skin cancer?

Self-love should not mean raising your risk of melanoma.

It’s a very fair question:
Will there be a surge in skin cancer diagnoses 20 years from now, or even 10 years, due to all the women wearing bikinis to the beach when – prior to the self-love movement — they would have normally been much more covered up?

If there’s an uptick in skin cancer diagnoses years from now, there’ll be no way to prove that it was caused by the influx of women wearing bikinis who, in the absence of the body positive movement, would have worn cover-ups or not even gone to the beach.

Nevertheless, it’s a pretty smart question that may be answered in the years to come.

“The ‘self-love’ movement for abandoning cover-ups for bikinis at the beach will definitely have its consequences,” begins Erum Ilyas, MD, a board certified dermatologist who performs adult and pediatric medical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology and skin cancer treatment at Montgomery Dermatology, LLC.

“However, with the right guidance, this is not inevitable,” continues Dr. Ilyas.

“The bottom line is that the exposure to UV rays, especially when most intense during peak sun hours, damages the DNA of our cells. The effects of this damage are not always seen immediately.” 

Bopo influencers have a tendency to believe that if a fat woman is in swimwear cover-ups at the beach, she lacks self-confidence, lacks self-love and needs to shed the cover-up.

She looks as confident as a same-size woman in a string bikini. Source:

What about the possibility she’s covered up to protect her skin from the sun’s harmful rays?

Her arms and back may be exposed, but maybe that’s a comfort issue, especially in the heat. Her legs are covered because she wants to limit sun exposure.

Or maybe the beachwear tunic is to shield the sun’s rays from a sensitive back.

Where is it engraved in stone, gold or marble that women MUST wear a bikini to the beach, especially if they’re fat?

If you want to practice self-love, do so by taking measures to prevent skin cancer. This doesn’t mean you must give up bikinis if you normally wear them.

“This body positive messaging should not just be about body type but also being positive messaging about our innate melanin production!” says Dr. Ilyas.

“This would mean that I welcome the movement as long as it means putting sunblock on from head to toe and everywhere in between before putting your bikini on for a day at the beach! And, of course, reapply.”

Maybe that fat woman who’s “all covered up” was once diagnosed with melanoma, which when not caught early, is quite deadly.

There’s no shame in “keeping it covered up.” Source:

Maybe she burns easily. Maybe she’s never had melanoma but has risk factors such as family history, very fair skin and blue eyes.

THINK, PEOPLE! Don’t be so quick to pass judgement on every fat woman who won’t wear a bikini or keeps one-half of her body covered up on the beach.

She may have medical reasons for this that are not obvious to the bopo onlookers sunning themselves with barely anything on their bodies. Let’s have a better definition of self-love.

Self-love may equate to keeping the skin youthful looking – and one way to do that is to limit sun exposure.

Keeping oneself covered up at the beach does NOT mean depriving oneself from full living.

Maybe that covered-up plus size woman lives up life by going inline skating, bicycling and hiking with her kids. Do you?

  • A lot of sunlight exposure promotes premature wrinkling of the skin.
  • You spend most of your life OFF the beach.

So what’s more important? Trying to prove something, some kind of effing of the beauty standards, by flaunting a bikini on the beach?

Or not submitting to this pretense and instead protecting your skin with more cover-up on the beach, so that during all the time you spend OFF the beach, people notice how glowing and youthful your skin looks?

Again, nobody is saying ditch the bikini if you’ve always worn them. Slathering on the sunscreen is what you need to do.

“If we consider the full picture on safe body positive messaging, then we will not necessarily see spikes in skin cancer,” says Dr. Erum, founder of the AmberNoon line of fashionable sun-protective clothing.

Don’t EVER, for a single second, feel you must not love yourself just because you refuse to wear a bikini or two piece suit. Otherwise, all that self-lovin’ might lead to skin cancer.

Dr. Ilyas is the founder of the AmberNoon line of fashionable sun-protective clothing. 
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


Top image: Shutterstock/Erica Smi