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Posts Tagged ‘tanning’

Is there such a thing as a good, safe tan?

jergensWell, both the Ks and I are heading to Vegas in a few weeks with some friends, so the topic has been on our minds recently. We all want to look our best when we hit the pools and casinos in Sin City –which means adding some color to our pasty post-winter Boston bodies. Which means tackling the debate: tanning bed vs. tanning lotion. I’m a faithful user (and big fan) of Jergens Natural Glow Express (I remember when this stuff–the non-express kind–first came on the market and every Walgreens in Manhattan was sold out for like a month). I use it on my face regularly during the winter to get some color–and doubled up for special events like New Years Eve. However, even I realize that I’d need like ten bottles to prep for Vegas.

And so I put on my stupid hat and drove to the tanning salon. I signed up for a package and told myself that tanning a few times in preparation for a vacation isn’t like those girls who tan every week all year. I tell myself this each time I go–and I’m a smart girl, so why do I let myself put these blinders on? All in the name of beauty? I don’ t get it either. I know the dangers, but I do it anyway.

Well, after going a few times, I decided that maybe it wasn’t worth it and maybe it was pretty risky and basically I talked myself into acknowledging that tanning is pretty bad for me. Then I started researching spray tanning. Now, admittedly, spray tanning has come a long way since it first showed up in the late 90s. It no longer means an automatic orange hue–some girls look really great afterward! But I think it takes practice and trial and error to find a brand and a process that works for you.

bride-wars-hathaway-tanIn the name of research, my (female) roommate (K2) and I decided to check out the local Mystic Tan last night. We showered and exfoliated first, put on some grungy sweats, and headed out the door. We had seen Bride Wars together this winter, and were a little afraid of coming out looking like a burnt carrot, but neither of us planned on sabotoging the other’s tan, so we thought we’d be ok. Let’s just say that this morning, I woke up to the Boy calling me “Little Brown One.” I am definitely brown–and browner in some places than others! When you head into the spray booth they give you lotion to put on your feet/hands/nails to prevent the ‘tanning juice’ from getting into your nail beds and the dry skin in that area from soaking up too much tan juice. I wish I had thought to put some on my face! Waking up this morning my forehead and my cheeks were a nice brown color, but so were my chin and upper lip! Not so pretty! I scrambled up some lemon juice and baking soda (thanks, J.Lo in The Wedding Planner!!) and scrubbed a little bit, but still opted for some major make-up help to even things out. We’ll see what it looks like in a day or two. I haven’t seen K2 yet today but she says she’s not that dark. I guess I’ll find out at home tonight!

So here’s my frustration: Doctors and experts everywhere tell you that tanning is SO BAD FOR YOU AND YOU WILL GET CANCER, but then no one tells you any safe alternatives. One experience with a bad spray tan can send you right back into the tanning beds, or out in the sun! So instead of telling us that we need to always wear SPF 60 and hats and long sleeves and stay in the shade, why don’t doctors make some serious recommendations? Because really? Vegas? Long sleeves in the shade? Who are you kidding!? It’s like telling kids that the only way not to get pregnant is abstinence. Since it’s not realistic to tell people to stay pasty white all the time, it would be nice if they could tell us that hey, getting a slight tan isn’t as bad as burning, or something. Or is it? Why won’t someone just be honest? You either have the tanning salon’s propoganda about Vitamin D, or the dermatologist’s lecture on skin cancer. There has so be some sort of balance in there. Anyone?

I’m off to go squeeze some more lemons.

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