Monday, May 21, 2012

Why Pale Skin is SO In.

I've got a lot of Mediterranean genes in me, so growing up I'd start my summers pale white and end them impossibly dark. As I grew into my late teenage years, I grew to love my end-of-the summer tan, because my olive-tinged skin is impossible to find light foundation for. I worked at a pool, yet the hours I wasn't spending in my guard suit were spent tanning in my back yard. I'd get dozens of compliments on my tan, and sometimes the lines would stick around year-round. It made me look fit, unique, and healthy.

So, why am I pale as a ghost now? The simple answer is that I've spent the last four years ferociously avoiding any sort of sun exposure. I work at the pool and now I wear long sleeves and 50 SPF instead of 15. I began doing so reluctantly-- the antibiotics I was taking for my acne made my once burn-proof skin as sensitive as a baby's. After doing a lot of research--and becoming a biochemistry major--I came to completely and totally reject my old tanning ways and realized that pale is in.


Why Pale Is In: Let's Get Real.
Here's the bottom line: a tan is an absolute indicator that you have obtained skin cell damage. Yes, a TAN, not a sunburn. Tanning is your body's mechanism for defense against UV radiation. I mean, did you think it was an evolutionary development to make you look super cute in this season's hot color? To attract a mate, maybe? No, I didn't think so. So why do so many girls keep insisting on ravaging their long-term looks and their health just for a few months of glow?

Tanning Beds: This Way to Skin Cancer
We all know the obvious cosmetic reason to avoid tanning beds: no matter what your skin tone, you will always come out with an unnatural orange tinge. Let's face it: you know which girls have a real tan and which have a fake. But did you know, really know, the cold hard facts about why tanning beds are not for us educated beauties?
Picture by Adem Kaya

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, people who tan indoors are 74% more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never stepped in a booth. And do you think tanning before vacation is worth your while to avoid a sunburn? I know I once did, you you might want to check this out.

Yes, skin cancer can affect anyone, but why disrespect your body and yourself by drastically increasing those chances? People comment on my pale skin and, occasionally, it makes me feel self-conscious. But why should it? I'm protecting my body and preventing accelerated aging to an enormous extent.

8 comments:

  1. This is so true! My skin is pale, as I'm a redhead and can't GET a tan. There were some summers I'd do all I could to TRY to get a tan with no luck. So it's either love the sunscreen or stay indoors.

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    1. My old best friend was a redhead... she tried a tanning bed before Hawaii. It was the highest quality and lowest intensity/amount of time; three minutes in the bed gave her sun poisoning for three weeks! I don't envy that redhead skin for that reason, but you're lucky to have absolutely lovely hair. Trade-off!

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  2. My skin is very light, I am also a redhead. I have a difficult time tanning, I usually just burn. So, sun block is usually my best friend in the summer.

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    1. My fiancé is a blond but he was born a redhead, so he was out of luck either way when it comes to the sun! Naturally he chose to be a lifeguard... so sun block was his very, very best friend.

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  3. I love the sunshine, but now that we have had kids we always use 30 SPF or higher. I remember back in the day wearing SPF6 oil to try and tan. I also went to tanning beds. No longer though! Thanks for sharing this informative post.

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    1. See, the effects of tanning just weren't known and advertised to the extent they are now. I mean, my mother used just straight oil in the sun... luckily she aged well anyway and avoided skin cancer, but it's a scary thought! I'm so grateful my parents got me into the sunscreen habit young, because I see a lot of people my age avoid it and end up with serious skin issues. You're doing your children well!

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  4. Jennifer Jo ArchdeaconMay 23, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    I used to try to get a tan but I am so fair all I would end up with was a bad burn. Now I have learned to embrace my fair skin and learn to live with what I have

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    1. A tan can make you feel great, but A) how awkward are tan lines? and B) fair skin is totally gorgeous. I've learned to love the way my skin contrasts my dark hair. My sister is a natural platinum blonde, and I'm hoping to set a good example for her when it comes to embracing the fair side!

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