Ditch the booth, pale is the new tan

By Molly Kearney
April 30, 2009

Let’s be honest, everyone wants to be tan. But here’s the thing, I do not tan. And when I say that I mean, I physically do not tan.

I cannot go into a tanning salon and come out a beautiful golden color. I envy those that can, but I know that it’s not even physically possible for me.

I burn and I am so pale that I practically glow in the dark. You’ll know me when you see me, trust me. My skin will be the color of a normal person in the dead of winter.

Now, I could spend my time whining about being pale; but in all honesty, I sort of like it.

I’m different. I don’t have to worry about tan lines in the summer or looking orange from a spray tan. I’m just me.

I’m the pale one of my family, and you know what? After all is said and done my skin won’t be all wrinkled like that of my friends and family because I stayed out of the sun.

I mean hello! I definitely don’t want skin cancer.

I’ll never forget when the tanning trend first started in high school. It seemed so unnatural to me when someone is tomato red in the middle of January. That’s just not my cup of tea.

Tanning in general is not something I have the patience for. I fidget and cannot manage to sit outside in the hot sun and not move.

If I were to go into a tanning booth, I would definitely have immediate anxiety about the small space I’m given to tan.

Why would I want to waste away a beautiful day if I know I won’t tan? I’ll just burn and getting sunburn is not fun. I’d much rather slap on some sunscreen and not worry about my tan lines or lack of.

Sunburn leads to skin cancer or possible signs of skin cancer. I’m not trying to go to my dermatologist and get a piece of my face burnt off. Besides the obvious pain, there is also scarring. On my pale skin anything is obvious, so a scar? No thank you.

Anyone is liable for skin cancer. I have been making yearly visits to the dermatologist to make sure I’m cancer free since I was 12.

Have you ever seen the advertisements of the young body with the face of an elderly person? It would scare anyone into wearing their sunscreen.

Since I lack knowledge of the tanning world I decided to do a little bit of research.

Upon your first trip to the tanning bed or booth, your risk of getting melanoma skin cancer goes up by 75 percent.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer there is. If you are a frequent tanner you may receive up to 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to the dose you’d receive from sun exposure each year. These statisitcs are enough to scare anyone away from tanning.

If the whole idea is to make your skin look younger and tanner, then why would you put yourself in circumstances where your skin can be damaged?

All of these facts were found on the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Web site.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. And according to The Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. How scary is that?

I have never met a college student with skin cancer but I most certainly have met adults who suffer from it.

My own parents make bi-annual trips to the dermatologists and bare the scars of going under the knife.

We now know more about skin cancer then that of our parent’s generations, so why should we put ourselves up for more risk? It’s not safe, to go unprotected but in moderation tanning is okay.

All in all I completely relate to the instant gratification of tanning. I understand the thrill it must be to look like you just came back from the islands.

But if my skin let me tan, I don’t think I’d do it just from the health risks, particularly in my own family.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I’m not jealous of all of you that look like you just spent a week away in warmer climates.

Tanning is just not for me. It’s not worth it to pay for something where I’ll look unnatural and burn to a crisp. And most importantly, why would I put my money towards something when there is a huge chance I’d develop cancer and have to pay for that treatment in the future?

Think about it. Save yourself some money this summer, stop going to the tanning beds and just enjoy life.

And this coming summer don’t spend your days worrying about your tan lines or lack of in my situation. Use sunless tanner or get a spray tan.

Don’t worry how you look or what others think of you. Whether you’re tan or pale, people should like you the way you are.

This summer I know that I’ll be content with my lack of tan. I’ll be even happier and less stressed out not worrying about tan lines or future signs of skin cancer.

Besides, isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Don’t make yourself into something you aren’t meant to be. No matter what you do, embrace your true self and stay healthy. That’s all I or anyone else can do.

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Molly Kearney

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