When I was 12 years old I moved to Kelowna, bleach blonde hair and tanned skin is the norm. There are tanning salons on every block. It is a social norm to go to the electric beach during the winter when you can’t catch the natural rays from the sun on the beach. Being mixed raced I do have a bit of colour but I love having tanned skin. I hate putting on makeup and I feel that when I have a tan it evens out my skin tone and gives me a healthy glow. Summer is just around the corner and to me it is the worst feeling being the pale person at the beach, so I am always prepared with a base tan.
The Dangers of a Suntan
Recently a girl from my class did a shocking presentation on the dangers of skin cancer, which she was diagnosed with a few years ago. Her story was touching, especially because she had only visited a tanning bed a few times in her lifetime. She said that everyone has the mentality that it won’t happen to them. It hit me really hard, because that was my mentality. I visit the electric beach frequently during the winter; I needed to get this vitamin D the tanning salons rave about. I never got Jersey Shore crazy but I had definitely had my share of exposure. The statistics she shared where shocking. Melanoma is the second most common cancer in people ages 15 – 34 years old. Just one bad burn increases one’s chances of getting skin cancer. One person in the United States dies each hour of Melanoma. There are actually more downsides to tanning then upsides, tanning also causes premature aging. When I could reduce my risk simply by protecting myself from the sun, applying sunscreen, wearing a hat and sunglasses and avoiding tanning beds all together, it seemed silly that I had risked my life for beauty.
How to Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
Although she did sell me on staying out of the sun, I still wanted to continue to have nice tanned skin. I went on a mission, the next day I decided I would revisit sunless tanners. I had initially tried them when they first came out but the smell drove me crazy, I was orange and my hands looked filthy, it deterred me right away. In my mind I had rationalized that covering my body in chemicals was just as bad as lying down in a tanning bed, but after her presentation I had come to my senses. It seemed too vain to risk my life over something so trivial.
I came across this miracle product, Clarins Delicious Self Tanning Cream. It is a little but on the pricey side but it works amazing. It smells great and it is mixed with a moisturizer so I just slap it on right after the shower. I have been converted completely and since I don’t want to look like I went somewhere, I only have to apply once a week to keep a “natural” glow! With the coming summer months I definitely would recommend that any sun bathers consider alternatives and be sure to protect themselves from the sun. It is really not worth the risk.