**Please excuse me while I preach from my soapbox for this post.**
Social beauty standards are strange if you really think about them. And dangerous too. In Asian countries, white skin is considered beautiful because they associate tans with lower class field workers. To achieve a porcelain physique, girls use unsafe and illegal products to bleach the color from their skin, despite the risk of permanent and disfiguring results. Doesn’t that sound crazy? Well, we’re crazy over here too.
In Western culture, tanned skin is considered beautiful. Since the days of Coco Chanel, a “healthy glow” was seen as the side effect of living a luxurious and leisurely lifestyle despite the fact that sun damage causes wrinkles, sunspots, and cancer. We participate in a $5 billion tanning industry and purposefully expose our skin to carcinogens from tanning beds.
Do you even know what a tan is? Tanning is the skin’s defense mechanism to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. When skin is exposed to UV rays, your cells produce melanin, which darkens the cells of the epidermis. This darkening of the skin cells is the skin’s natural defense against further damage from UV radiation. In essence, a tan is a signal that your body is under attack.
I’m guilty of tanning too. But, it’s time to stop. I’m asking you to join me in a pledge to say no to senseless tanning this summer. I don’t mean stay indoors 24/7. Just follow this pledge from DoSomething.org –
I pledge to:
- Treat my skin with kindness by keeping it protected when I am in the sun.
- Stop using tanning beds, because they cause sun spots, premature aging, and even skin cancer.
- Appreciate my body and the natural color of my skin.
- Guarantee myself a lifetime of healthy skin by taking care of it now, and not putting off worrying about it until I’m older.
- Remind myself that the celebrities and models I see in movies and magazines aren’t baking away in tanning beds they have professional spray tanners who help them fake a golden glow.
- Understand that a healthy glow doesn’t come from a tan it comes from being confident in your own skin.
Leave a comment below if you would like to take this pledge!