Every decade has a fad, or usually, multiple fads, that everyone decides is a great idea and must do. In recent years, suddenly tanning became that fad, and the general population decided to be tan was to be healthy.
Lying out in the sun, oiling up with tanning oil, and staying there for hours on end meant a nice dark look. Dark skin meant healthy skin and a healthy body, right?
Quite the contrary. Though it may be a bit of a stretch to compare lying in the sun with tanning oil to a basting chicken in a rotisserie, it is a bit of the same concept. Tanning, in fact, is not healthy, dark skin is not good, and oiling up for a better tan only makes things worse. Where the public got the idea that a dark tan meant health will probably be a mystery (maybe from bodybuilders?), but it is important that the myth has been debunked and the truth told.
Hanging out under the sun too long, especially without any protective sunscreen, will do major damage to your skin. It does not matter that the sun does have some benefits, you have to keep in mind that too much of anything is bad for you (even drinking too much water can kill you if you are not careful!).
When you are in the sun without the proper protection, the elastin fibers in your skin that helps to keep it tight and strong. Too much sun will mean skin aging, sagging, drying, and the possibility of sun burns, some of which can be so severe they can be qualified as second degree burns, and the worse case scenario, skin cancer.
Ok, so the sun is bad unless you go out with sunscreen. The newest fad to help save you from the damage of the sun? Tanning salons. Girls in high school will tan feverishly before going to dances, others simply go once or twice a week throughout winter so they can continue to have that nice, sun-kissed look. But are tanning beds any safer?
Again, the answer is no. The reason your skin becomes dark is because it is getting damaged and deteriorating from UV rays that both the sun and tanning beds subject you to. So going to a tanning salon is virtually no different than lying beneath the sun for an hour or two. For a long time people were under the impression that because you were out of the sun, you were safe from UV rays and thus safe from skin cancer.
However, in recent years, the truth has come out about tanning beds and have since become referred to by some people as cancer boxes. You will have to accept the facts: there is no safe tan.
At least, there is no safe tan when it comes to obtaining a tan through the use of light. You can always purchase sunless tanning products such as sprays or creams, or bronzers such as powders for your face.
These will give you the darker look you crave in order to appear what everyone claims as healthy. If beauty is only skin deep, once you damage that skin, what will you have to fall back on?
The important thing to remember is that a tan does not equal a healthy body or mind. A tan is just one more superficial thing that people have embraced without any solid reasons. There used to be a time when pale, ivory skin was considered beautiful.
In the end, the best advice is to wear sunscreen, enjoy the sun as it is, and accept your skin for what it is. Resting in that kind of happy medium will make you feel better about yourself and bring you true beauty.
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