by Kelsey Page
Published on: Apr 8, 2006
Type: Opinions

Porcelain skin was once a coveted must-have for centuries amongst the beautiful and wealthy. Yet somewhere between 1770 and 1970, society has renamed creamy skin with pasty skin, changing the shade of beautiful skin from beige to brass.

It is peculiar to think that in a medical era, where the knowledge of the multitude of bad effects of tanning on your health and appearance are taken for granted, the number of personalized home-tanning beds just keep springing up. Excuses have ranged everywhere from improving self esteem, to simply being at less of a risk to get sunburned while in natural sunlight.

I think my parents’ generation is living proof that spending the first 20 years of life smothered in baby oil and frying like bacon on blacktops is anything but positive for one’s self esteem. Thinking of the future shouldn’t be applied only to college plans and what movie to see this weekend, it should also be applied to what tanning on a daily basis can chisel into your face fifteen years down the road.

What about tanning to prevent future sunburns? Well, there is this new, revolutionary cream that is remarkably effective and affordable, found virtually anywhere on the planet (including the residue from aspen tree’s bark). Fear of being sunburned should not be a valid justification for damaging your skin. It’s so much cheaper and healthier, as well as time-efficient, to simply rub in SPF 30. I would rather take five minutes to slab on sunscreen now rather than take months, possibly years, later to help fight off a vicious case of melanoma.

Besides the overwhelming health issues to consider before strapping on those European-looking goggles, beware of the after effects. High school could almost be considered a form of tanning-salon advertisement. Sadly, the majority of girls at my school could sooner answer what minute-increment they’re currently up to on their tanning sessions, rather than what a Patriot Act is, or what is in the Bill of Rights. It's Probable that over 80% of these girls that I go to school with regularly hit the beds either during their lunch hour (who would rather bake than eat something baked?) or after school.

The result of all these pre-Madonnas’ tanning is quite interesting. Not only is it obviously apparent that there is a seemingly high psychological addiction rate (once they’ve tanned to black, they’ll never go back), but all of their skin tones have evened out to the same, fried-wheat tone. Don’t believe me? Take a fieldtrip to most high schools in the Southwest Littleton area in February and January, and you will be convinced that you have been relocated to Spring Break in Cancun, minus MTV.

This is deplorable. One of the most unique physical traits a person can have is their un-paralleled skin color. Why would anyone want to hide or change that? Maybe in fifteen or twenty years, when the lasting mementos of tanning are worn right along with every facial expression, more will actually heed the warning of singeing their skin.

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