That’s it, I officially surrender– I’m throwing in the rusty, orange-stained towel. Summer has barely began according to the calendar, but since SoCal’s high temps and bright, sunny days kick off in the spring, it’s months that I’ve been at. Starting around March this year, I’ve been furiously exfoliating, moisturizing, suffering the mortifying effects of stinky sprays and unsightly streaks, learning how to choose a safe SPF, battling product oriented rashes, all in the name of a sexy sun-kissed look. I’ve been trying to get a tan. And now I am not trying anymore. Here’s why.
I wanted to get a tan the right way, the safe way. And for me that meant getting a little bit of sun while I’m out riding my bike and dog walking (my part-time job Monday through Friday) each day and swimming a few times a week, soaking up the sunshine while getting fit. I tried to strike a healthy balance between an SPF that would keep me safe, but allow a reasonable amount of rays through. I certainly have light tan lines, but overall the sunscreen is doing its job. That’s great, I’d prefer it did.
“Using a tanning bed is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin tanning younger than age 35 have a 75% higher risk of melanoma. Using tanning beds also increases the risk of wrinkles and eye damage, and changes skin texture.”– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
But trying to supplement my silly-looking farmer’s tan with body bronzers is exhausting. It requires so much effort. In addition to scrubbing and sloughing away dead skin in preparation of each application, maintenence means keeping super moisturized even on the sweatiest of days, and watching for superpigmented carrot-colored areas that pop up in the strangest places. Most times I haven’t scoped those spots until I’ve posed for a photo opportunity and seen evidence of my fake bake gone wrong.
It’s embarassing, it feels so mortifying that my vanity is just on display like that– that I wanted so badly to be tan that I suffered the rigors of painting my body with crap at home, and did it wrong to boot. When the bronzer finally wears away, I’m just kind of a darker shade of my normal tone. Not really tan at all, kind of a pink. Worst of all, my legs are really where I would like that timeless sexy tan, but my ridiculous skin rejects the idea completely. My planet-sized pores soak up the bronzer and create a disgusting dot matrix look, as if I’m a comic book character.
But I can’t bring myself to climb into a tanning bed. It’d be tiresome for us all if I listed the innumerable health hazards here, but allow me just a quick reminder from the Centers for Disease Control, which says that “Using a tanning bed is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin tanning younger than age 35 have a 75% higher risk of melanoma. Using tanning beds also increases the risk of wrinkles and eye damage, and changes skin texture.” Suffice to say I can’t stomach the thought of getting into one of those human toasters just to try to look a little prettier.
What’s a girl to do? I think it’s time to go back to being pale and proud. Yes, I’m giving up my dream of being a beachy-looking babe, but I’ll also never have long legs or nice round butt. Life is unfair. What’s the beauty routine that you draw the line at? — Casandra Armour