So, I recently just made a decision that may be easy for some, but was hard for me. I decided to not purchase a tanning package this spring. (To my mom reading this- I know you will be happy to hear this!!)
I’ll admit it I sort of used to be a tanning addict. Since my senior year of high school, I bought a one-month unlimited package every spring. During college, I started buying a package each spring AND winter. I tried to go as much as I could to get my money’s worth; usually every other day or sometimes even a few days in a row.
It soon became an addiction. I got a high off of getting dark and tried to get the darkest I possibly could. I thrived off of people telling me, “You’re so tan!” I tanned to look good in the gym, I tanned before I went on vacations, and I tanned just to feel good about myself in general. It gave me an amazing sense of self-confidence. I felt beautiful when I was tan.
Well, this spring, I decided enough is enough. I decided NOT to buy a package this spring and break the addiction. Even though I am pale and going on a vacation soon, I am going to hold strong. Here’s why:
1.) The threat to my health
Although I am not a fair-skinned person, I don’t want to risk ever getting skin cancer. I try SO hard to take good care of myself by eating nutritious and working out, and I spend so much money on beauty products. So why would I pay to put cancerous UV rays on my skin?! The logic just doesn’t even make sense!! As a society, we work SO hard to be the healthiest versions of ourselves, yet we spend approximately $5 billion on indoor tanning.
I’m sure you are well aware of the dangers by now, but let me inform you with some cold hard facts. According to the University of Minnesota, people who tan indoors have a 74% greater risk of getting melanoma skin cancer than those who do not tan. In addition, there is a 75% greater risk of melanoma when tanning beds are used before the age of 35. What fact scares me the most is that in young women ages 18-39, the increase of melanoma increased eight-fold from 1970-2009, while it increased four-fold for men. If the threat of cancer doesn’t scare you, tanning indoors also causes premature aging to the skin, immune suppression, eye damage, and sometimes even an allergic reaction.
When I’m 35 and have young children, I fear that I will find out that I have skin cancer. How selfish would that be if my children lost their mother because of her foolish obsession to look tan in her twenties? Just not worth it for me anymore.
2.) I don’t need to be tan to be sexy
Seriously, I don’t. If I want to feel sexy, I’ll curl my hair, put on a new dress, and wear some heels out. My boyfriend is still going to love me the same no matter what my skin shade is. I’m still going to have awesome friends who care about me. I have self-confidence and feel good about myself and my image. It may have taken me awhile to figure this out, but I’m glad that I finally did at this point.
3.) It gets expensive
Paying $50 for a month just to get tan is no longer worth it to me. Maybe when I was 19 and spent my money foolishly. But now, I have bills to pay and have to budget my money wisely. I would rather spend my leisure money on fun things such as shopping for clothes or traveling.
4.) It’s time consuming
Tanning is so time consuming! I figured out than on average, it took up an hour of my day with the commute to the salon, undressing and putting on lotion, and the 20 minutes of tanning itself. When you look at it this way, if I tan five times a week, that is five hours that I could have put towards doing something else more productive.
5.) I’m sick of conforming to what society wants me to be
I personally don’t understand why my fellow millennials (and younger woman in general) are so obsessed with tanning. Who made up this rule anyways that tan is sexy?! I think it looks absolutely ridiculous when I go to the gym in January and see women who look orange. Keep in mind, I live in Wisconsin, where we basically have winter for a good 6 months….you’re not fooling anyone, girlfriend! Just like why American society tells us women to shave our legs, I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.
Overall, tanning is no longer worth it to me. Even though I’ll admit it’s not easy for me to forego it this spring, I am committed to living a healthier life, as well as saving money and time. I hope I can inspire you to do the same. Pale is pretty!