Saturday, May 9, 2009

Healthy Monday: A “healthy” tan or a healthy body

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.


the grouse said...

Hi there, I've been reading your blog for a while and thought I'd leave a comment on this post. I'm getting married in September. I absolutely do not want to be tanned on my wedding day as I want to look like 'me'. This is not going to be easy given that my skin is a half a shade off pasty and I live in Egypt where most weekend are spent at the beach - so will spend Summer in the shade. Anne Hathaway and Nicole Kidman look great white and while I may not look like them, I think I look great white too!

Nicole said...

I like this post because this is something that's been on my mind. I agree that we should all embrace the type of skin we're in. For me, it's more about evening out my skin tone. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will not lay outside to tan or tan in a tanning bed. I've thought about using a sunless tanner, but I just don't know what's good and I'm afraid of an uneven coating (how do you get the tanner on your back??). I've thought about spray tanning, but I've tried them before (both in the both and airbrush) and it's just way too dark for what I want. I'll be interested to see your next post on this!

Anonymous said...

A fair skin tone has been cherished through the ages and an indicator of wealth and high-standing in society.

This dates back thousands of years where common-folk had to slave away outside from sunrise to sunset, thereby earning a tremendous tan. At the same time, royalty stayed inside and enjoyed the shade.

I think fair skin looks far more attractive and healthier on any woman than a tan.

Arlina said...

There is a history of skin cancer in my family, so I don't lay out and tan. I found that airbrush tanning works well for me.

The meaning of fair skin has changed in our current society. It use to mean that if you were tan, you were a working outside and were "low class".

Today, if you have the time to be laying around outside, it is a sign that you are wealthy.

Funny how things change!

Twisted Limb said...

I think the grouse hit a really good point here--why look like someone else on your wedding day? If you're pasty (and I'm like Casper's twin sister), embrace that! Your healthy glow just happens to be on the creamy, ivory side instead of the bronze!

Jennifer said...

The Grouse - This is a great way to approach it. It's good to hear you are staying so true to yourself.

Nicole - I've done spray tanning too and I came out looking pretty orange for the first two days.

Anon - How interesting! Thank you for the info!

Arlina - I'll have to look into airbrush tanning. It seems like it would provide a better tan than spray tanning.

Twisted Limb - I couldn't agree with you more. It's about time we started embracing our beautiful, pale and pasty selves. hehe. :)

It's A Jaime Thing said...

As I was preparing for my sister's wedding this past weekend, I was talking about how I wanted to get spray tanned before the wedding...well, it's safer than a tanning bed, right?

However, I loved her reply when she said, "Why even get spray tanned? Being pale is sexy, EMBRACE the porcelain!" - she was talking about how some of those old movie stars had that gorgeous, porcelain look to them and how beautiful they were.

After thinking about it for a second, I realized she had a point! So for the wedding that's just what I did - I "embraced the porcelain". ;) The pics turned out great.

I still go back and forth, it's always nice to have some color but I definitely am not afraid to rock the pale

Cheers, keep up the great posts!!! Your blog is lovely.

Jaime @ "It's A Jaime Thing"

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