Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tanning: The Sun vs. Tanning Beds

If you live in California, which I assume that most of my readers (as if I have a lot HA!) do, you know about the pressure that comes around ... well... year round but mostly Summertime. One word - "tan". I've been tan only once in my life before this year, and it was the year I was on swim team from April-ish to mid-September. I was in a wedding that year in July, I believe, and my strapless dress gave a boy all the clues he needed to surmise that I was a swimmer... although I was confused at the time when he said, "Swim team, huh?" I guess the extremely white X in stark contrast to my otherwise very tan back gave it away. In my defense, I was blonde back then.

This year, I was basically peer pressured into getting a tan. Several people suggested I go to a tanning bed, at least for a few weeks, to really jump-start a tan... but I prefer the sun. I really do... Something just ... doesn't seem right about a coffin with sunlamps. :)

So I started tanning in the afternoons, but wasn't getting anywhere, I eventually started tanning in the morning, and BAM ... I have a tan.

But... my tan really isn't the point of this post. It's about the debate over the health issues of tanning in the ...


I've always felt this: the sun really, REALLY shouldn't be the victim when it comes to skin cancer concerns. Yes, I realize there are those of my beautiful red-headed and fair-skinned friends (of which I have many) who are more sensitive and prone to burns than most - and I'm not suggesting they stop wearing sunscreen because a) they actually are more prone to sun damage and cancer than most and b) sunburns hurt like ... well, you know. But, the sun has been around.. you know, a LONG TIME... like, longer than humans, by a few days. People have been working and living and working some more out in the sun for thousands of years... and yet, somehow, skin cancer has only really gotten WORSE in the last 30 years or so ... since tanning beds were invented.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation (article linked), "indoor tanning increases melanoma risk by 74 percent." SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT?! And people are worried about the SUN?! It really IS a coffin with sunlamps, my gosh! 

I don't even want to start to get into the debate about whether or not Obama plans to put a tax on indoor tanning (although, let me just point out that if a Republican were in office, a lot of Republicans probably wouldn't think it was a bad idea ... I'm just sayin'.) Personally, I don't want to get into the politics of it, although I will say that if it increases the chance of skin cancer by SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT then they should probably be consistent with taxing it alongside cigarettes. Whether or not you think that is the government's right however, is an argument I'm really not interested in.

So, why am I bothering to post this? Consider me an advocate, a pro-bono lawyer per say, for the sun. I love the sun. We can't avoid every single thing that "may cause cancer" (unless it increases the risk by SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT AND COSTS MONEY!!!?!). The Sun, however, really is a great, awesome thing. So even if you smother on the sunscreen this summer, go out in it. Believe me, it feels great and it is quite a mood lifter (especially for people like me with S.A.D. - seasonal affective disorder). But make sure to always, no matter what, even if you use Hawaiian Tropic Tanning Oil on the rest of your body (like me) use at least SPF 30 on your face!! (And preferably your hands, too). A bronzer can give you that tan look now, but there is no covering up those wrinkles when you're 35 and spent way, WAY too much time out in the sun... (like my apartment neighbor who, by her body, can't be older than 35.. but her face looks 60. Why? I see her putting tanning oil ON HER FACE!!) So if you're going to get a tan, do it the healthier way... Take advantage of the free, beautiful sunlight.

And in the words of my friend Stephanie, "Tan fat looks better than pale fat." Haha! :)


Rebecca said...

Tanning tip--you could move to Singapore and wear sun block every single day and STILL get a tan just from waiting for busses and walking to the grocery store. That's the predicament I'm in!

I totally agree about tanning beds. Only been once, just before our wedding, because white on white isn't quite as elegant as it sounds.

Chad and Clair said...

Well said. I TOTALLY agree. Let's put this post to good use on Saturday!

Jess(ica) said...

I totally forgot to come and tell you I read this! This is a funny post and I laughed! I always say that tan fat is better looking than white fat, too! I tan about 1time a year before I go on vacation. I pay for the higher end tanning beds where you don't ever burn, even though I know they are still "risky" -but they are better than the full UV Ray exposure beds.