May 10, 2010
I came across an article in the Chicago Tribune today about college students and possible addiction to indoor tanning. Quite intriguing since I have "suffered" from tanorexia my entire life. These days I am recovering and hating every minute of it!
Many people may disagree with me, but having a tan and getting that essential Vitamin D whether by tanning beds or traditional time outdoors makes you look and feel better. You need less make-up, skin imperfections are camoflauged, muscle tone is more defined and you have a nice glow. Even though I live in Florida, I definitely have a different mood in winter because of the lack of sun exposure. SADD! In the past, going to the tanning bed has been a way to combat this. For the remaining 9 months of the year going to the beach or pool, boating, jogging and fishing comprise the majority of weekend activities. All of these things mean that the majority of people are tan year round and the sunny, warm climate means that clothing is minimal. There is no covering up your paleness.
Now for the unfortunate negative aspect of tanning, there are 2 cons that trump the positives I listed above: CANCER & WRINKLES. The younger you are the less you worry about disease and death because you are invincible and don't have to think about it NOW, right? All that really matters is looking good in your bikini for spring break so you can meet a hot guy and look good in the photos. Skin cancer is a very real threat for those of us that live at least a few thousand miles south of the Arctic Circle and it is not unheard of for people in their 20's to develop melanoma.
Forget about the cancer for a minute. If that isn't enough to make you give up tanning, to those same vain people (myself included) I would say, what about wrinkles and sun damage? Nobody wants to look old and wrinkled by the time they are 35. At least I don't. Unfortunately, all the cosmetic procedures in the world won't make your skin look the same as it would if you started protecting it now. We have all seen men and women who have such damaged skin you don't know if they are 40 or 60.
Of course, there is spray tanning and DIY tanning lotions for a healthier way to have a nice glow. Or you can be pale and fabulous like Gwen Stefani, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow or Kristen Stewart.
About 7 years ago I made the decision not to tan anymore, indoors or outdoors. I go outside of course and do all the same things, just not without a ridiculous amount of SPF on my face and body. Does it suck sometimes to be so pale? ABSOLUTELY. Does it make me secretly jealous when I see beautiful tanned bodies walk by in the mall or at the beach? Yep.
I just have to keep telling myself, no cancer, no wrinkles...no cancer, no wrinkles...no cancer, no wrinkles.
Luckily for me, vampires are very in right now!