Before you skim over this article thinking that it’s just another bunch of statistics, someone telling you why tanning is bad, and how your skin looks orange (even thought it does), listen up! It’s time to get serious.
I’d like to start off by telling you that you’re beautiful. Whether you have an olive, orange, fair, dark, or reddish skin tone, you are beautiful with or without a suntan, just the way you are. But I get it. I’m a girl, I feel more beautiful when I have a suntan, and I live in a state where this is only naturally possible 3 months of the year. I admit that during those 3 months of the year, sunbathing by a lake or pool is my favorite hobby. Along with all of the other standards that women are held to in society, unfortunately having the perfect “sun kissed” look or “summer glow” all the time, is one of them.
This expectation of perfect tan skin is stupid and unfair. It makes me sick to my stomach that every year millions of women pay money to artificially tan their skin even though they are severely harming their bodies every time they do. Women are literally killing themselves to look “perfect.”
In case any of you forgot:
“Indoor tanning exposes users to both UV-A and UV-B rays, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer. Using a tanning bed is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin tanning younger than age 35 have a 75% higher risk of melanoma. Using tanning beds also increases the risk of wrinkles and eye damage, and changes skin texture.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Okay, maybe I lied about throwing statistics at you, but that sentence above should be all you need to stop yourself from tanning. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and in many cases, is not just a suspicious mole you have to get removed.
I never thought I would have any experience with melanoma. After all, “It won’t ever happen to me,” right? For the small amount of occasions I would tan in high school, I never understood why it disappointed, and to be honest, really hurt my Mom. I thought she was being overprotective, and thought “big deal, I’ll have a few wrinkles when I get older, but hey, I’m going to get them eventually anyway”. The most ignorant part about my thought process was that I just expected I would live to be old enough to get wrinkles, when in reality, it does not always turn out like that. Two of my Mom’s best friends weren’t so lucky, and both lost their lives to melanoma. I never heard my Mom talk about them much because they didn’t live past their 20’s and 30’s. I’m sure that those women had also said to themselves “It won’t ever happen to me”.
Even after hearing my Mother’s experience with melanoma, I still went tanning before my birthday, Halloween, and New Years. Thinking that limiting my usage would somehow prevent me from ever damaging my skin. I thought that way up until the summer that one of my best friends and roommates went to get a mole removed on her leg that turned out to be more than just a mole. She had a patch of “pre-melanoma” on her leg and had to have a chunk of skin removed from her leg to prevent it from spreading. She’s completely fine now, and doesn’t use tanning beds, and after that happened to her, neither do I.
It’s not worth it. You’re given one life and one body to take care of. Going tanning is basically paying for skin cancer on layaway. Love yourself and love your skin. And how awesome will it be to NOT look 50 when your 30?!
To conclude, I’m not trying to be self-righteous and say that just because you don’t like your appearance when your skin is at it’s natural color, then you’re insecure and that’s a problem. I still LOVE being tan and feel more self-confident when I am, but I’ve learned to put my ego aside and use health conscious ways to look tan.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE: I’ve recently found the BEST alternative to tanning booths and gross smelling tanning lotions, and that is Saint Tropez Self Tanning Foam. You apply a few pumps of the foam to the applicator gloves (no one wants orange hands) and rub it on evenly after a shower, and see results instantly and it gradually gets darker. I am a sucker for customer reviews and I even watched 5 tutorials/reviews before purchasing this foam, and it really is the best. You can purchase Saint Tropez at places like Sephora or Ulta Beauty Store, and the largest bottle is $40 dollars, but lasts for months.