Archive for the ‘tanning’ Category

Why You Shouldn’t Tan

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Tanning is a double-edge sword, it makes your skin look nice at the present moment, but it is slowly and surely killing your skin and its appearance for the future. Growing up as a redhead in a family of redheads, I was shunned from the sun by mother throughout my childhood and most of my teenage years. I remember the one time she forgot to slather on sun-block for a Father’s Day BBQ at the lake and I took home the lucky prize of sun poison on my forehead and shoulders. I was 10yrs old and still remember the teasing from other kids, the pain and the blisters. However, that didn’t stop my irresponsible tanning as a teenager and into my early 20s, which I now regret.

I still remember the first time I tanned at a tanning salon, without my mother’s knowledge of course. I was 16yrs old and it was right before my Junior Prom, all of my friends were tanning, including one of my redheaded friends, who was the darkest out of all of us (she was also 100% Italian). I convinced myself that if she could tan as a redhead, so could I; silly me. So, I snuck off to a local tanning salon for several quick sessions and to my surprise, I didn’t burn too much; but the key word and unhealthy word being, I burned. Then by next summer, I had my license and a car, so I began tanning every single day, Monday through Friday after work. Never mind the fact that I was a day camp counselor and was already out in the sun every day. Before I knew it, I was in my 20s and was not only tanning during the summer, but was also tanning every single day all year round. I didn’t want to tan every day, but being half Irish, if I missed a few days, my tan would start to disappear. I noticed that I lost my tan, even quicker then I burned.

Then came my “wake-up call.” I had just turned 25yrs old and was tanner than ever, due to the high pressure tanning beds that I discovered at my local tanning salon. During this time I was on a tanning mission, I had 3 weddings that were 3 months apart, and a Miami vacation to attend to. I attended all of the weddings and then went to Miami with my mother (who is a fair skinned, blue-eyed, redhead). I remember laying on the beach for about 20 minutes with not a single ounce of sun-block on, and then I looked over at my poor mother who was slathered head to toe in sun-block and about to break out in tears because her feet were burning; yes her feet. She quickly covered herself up in a blanket, but I couldn’t let her sit out in the sun and burn, so I suggested we go back to our hotel.

It was shortly after our Miami vacation that I realized I was getting premature wrinkles. I was shocked and mortified because my mother who is in her 50s doesn’t have any wrinkles and even my grandmother, who passed away in her late 70s, barely had any wrinkles. So, why was I getting wrinkles? Easy, unlike me and so many other women of my generation, my mother and grandmother stayed out of the sun. It was at that very moment that I realized being tan wasn’t worth the sacrifice of having unhealthy and wrinkled skin.

So now that I am in my late 20s, almost approaching 30, I find that I am paying for my tanning mistakes of the past. I use wrinkle creams daily and I am starting to look into chemical peels and other facials to help fight wrinkles and sun damage (which I wouldn’t need at the moment if I stayed out of the sun when I was younger). Now when summer comes each year and I am as pale as Casper the Ghost, I just laugh off the comments from my friends and family suggesting I should “get some sun.” Instead, I lay in the shade and wear sun-block.