What’s more important to you? A “healthy” tan or a healthy body.
It's a pretty well known fact that many women like to tan before their wedding. And in all honesty, it makes sense. Rarely do you see an advertisement for a pale bride draped over a chaise, dripping from head to toe in an exquisite wedding gown.* The types of people that we commonly associate with beauty - actors, singers, models, movie stars, etc... - wear a perfect golden glow year round. So when a bride has her red carpet moment, I can understand why a pasty white glow can make her feel about as sexy as a turtle.
But is the “sexy” tan worth the dangers? According to the National Cancer Institute, women who use tanning beds more than once a month are 55 percent more likely to develop malignant melanoma. 55 PERCENT!? Wow. Even a day at the beach can increase your risk of skin cancer. If that doesn’t jolt you, get this: the sun causes wrinkles. That’s right ladies. The sun actually damages the elasticity of your skin, which is why women who spend too much time sunbathing tend to look like leather as they age.
Next, you’ll probably expect me to go into the details about the benefits of sunless self tanners. And while they have improved drastically in the last two decades (no more looking like the inside of a sweet potato!), I thought I might try a different route. Rather than slathering more chemical laden products on our bodies, what if we all embraced our natural skin color and learned to love what we were born with. After all, is it really fair that we allow society’s definition of beauty change what we see in the mirror?
I know this is easier than done (trust me, I’m about as tan as an albino rabbit) so next Monday I’ll be highlighting some of the more environmentally-friendly tanning options on the market. In the meantime, lets contemplate how turtles can be sexy... hard shell, pretty dark green color, dark eyes...
*This article originally posted in May of 2009. Since then I have noticed more vampire-esque brides being featured in magazines, but it's probably more a marketing reaction to the hype created by the Twilight series of books.