Spring Break is upon us and women are beginning to wish away their winter skin. Soon, the tanning beds will be overrun by ladies wishing to give themselves a jumpstart on their summer tan. What is it about tanning that draws so many? Confidence. Plain and simple. I know, because I myself tanned for years, indoor and outdoor, hoping to decrease acne and gain a darker complexion that would hopefully detract attention from any possible flaws in my face (like dark circles, maybe). My natural, fair skin always left me dissatisfied. I blame it on Barbie.
I started tanning when I was about 17. I begged my mom to sign the parental consent form, which she did, begrudgingly of course. I went for a few weeks each year, just to get my tan started for the summer. Due to my numerous insecurities, I was convinced tan skin was an absolute necessity.
After getting married in the fall of 2009 and becoming pregnant with my daughter in 2011, I stopped tanning. I was concerned it wasn’t healthy for the baby. With the impending arrival of a baby, taking care of myself became my number one priority. At first, the lack of a tan bothered me. In fact, I felt downright ugly without one. My husband was encouraging, however, and repeatedly told me I didn’t need a tan. I was beautiful, he said. As much as I appreciated his sweetness, I tended to lean upon my own thinking and insecurities at the time. With the arrival of our first baby and then our second, I never found time to return to a routine of spring tanning and was always dissatisfied with the coloring achieved with sunless tanners.
I decided that if I couldn’t have tan skin, then I wanted the healthiest skin I could get. I began researching and learned some important things about healthy skin. I came to the realization that water is extremely important, but so is what you apply to your skin. With your skin being the largest organ in your body, it’s really important that you take care in what you apply to it. After discovering essential oils, I began nourishing my skin with natural oils like Frankincense and Lavender. With the help of quality essential oils and a good terrycloth washcloth for exfoliating dead skin, my complexion has improved to the point where my natural skin tone no longer bothers me. In fact, I love it. When you’re addicted to tanning, reaching a place of acceptance with your natural skin tone takes time. It’s much like quitting any unhealthy habit. But, you can do it! Take care of yourself – you are worth it!
The consequences of seeking that tanned skin year and after could be more than you bargained for…
A few years ago, my brother had a short bout with skin cancer. He wasn’t out tanning or using indoor tanning beds. He was defending his country under the harsh sun in Iraq. This time was a slap of reality to me and it permanently changed my perception of tanning beds and suntanning. It was at that point that I resolved to never go back to the tanning beds. It wasn’t long after that that I received unfortunate news that a friend of the family had passed away after a long battle with skin cancer. Her doctors believed the years of tanning beds and suntanning without proper protection were to blame. She was in her 30s and her parents were absoutely devastated. The reality continued to hit close to home when just two months ago, a friend of mine posted pictures on Facebook of the chunk of skin the doctors had to remove, due to her years of suntanning.
This is Judy Cloud, a lady who has been documenting her skin cancer ordeal on Facebook. Cloud has had more than 30 spots taken off in the last 20 years, the result of going to tanning salons and staying out too long in the sun when she was younger, she said. Cloud used tanning beds in her 20s, going in once a week for three to four weeks several times a year before vacation to get a “base tan.”
A lot of people have the feeling of, they’re invincible, it’s not going to happen to them. But it could.” You can read Judy’s story here.
It’s real. We think it’s rare and it’ll never happen to us. I pray it never does, but I want to encourage you to be proactive now.
Embrace your natural skin tone. You think you’re pale…you’re not. You’re beautiful. Embrace your “natural” skin as the color that was intended for you. For the naturally fair-skinned who are getting their tan from a bed, a spray, or a lotion bottle, the results hardly ever achieve that natural look, or the beautiful, radiant glow promised. I did a quick google image search on tan skin vs. pale skin and I want to show you what I found.
I see these pictures and I think each of these ladies looks absolutely beautiful with her natural skin tone.
Natural skin refers to embracing your own true coloring and protecting your body, instead of exposing it to harmful UV rays or chemicals, and keeping your face looking fresh by using quality facial products, essential oils and applying makeup that is natural in appearance.
Embrace your natural skin tone. You are beautiful, just the way God intended you to be.