Still, who would have guessed? I’m not like the roasted duck left in the oven too long who gets over done. I never burn. I’m the one who when sitting outside in the warm summer sunshine knows when enough sun is enough! Not that I have a great tan by summer’s end, but you can tell at least, I’ve spent some time in the great outdoors beneath that hot ball of fire.
Quite frankly, I’ve never understood this great need to be beautifully tanned, anyway. The fact you can wear fashionable outfits without the need for pantyhose on those hot sticky days when legs are golden brown is irrelevant. And beside, who needs to hear “you have a gorgeous tan,” everyday anyway?
Bronze looks healthier, I’m told. Me? My milk white skin looks just fine – healthy even –for a polar bear. Polar bears don’t mind one bit being white. Why can’t I be just as content with my natural color?
Then, there’s always the threat of skin cancer, age spots and the rest of the dismal list of negatives for sunning. Serious stuff! This alone should scare me into staying out of the sun; or at least wearing a hat and properly creaming my delicate skin before embarking a stay in the open oven!
Why then, year after year, do I abuse my body so? Vanity, I guess. I like to hear “Wow! Your tan looks great” or the opposite and worse fear of being singled out as the least tanned person in the room and having a well meaning friend ask, “Do you feel well? You look awful pale!”
Still, the idea of skin cancer is unsettling. According to statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation melanoma, the most dangerous form of cancer is doubled if a person has five or more sunburns over their lifetime.1 I admit, I have had skin cancer, and I’d go so far to say, it was not sunburn related. The cancerous area required surgery and I don’t plan on having it again, certainly not when I know better!
And what of age spots? I was surprised to learn these little devils are also the result of sun damage. I have my share of these, too….but of course I thought it was just because I was aging!
So where does that leave me? My brain tells me “stay out of the sun!” My vanity is still yelling the opposite; so I suspect the smartest way to handle this is moderation. Some sun, for short time periods! This is not just good advice for adults. It’s also important for children, who love to play outdoors in the summertime. They typically have no sense of ‘time’ when outdoors and risk getting sunburned before anyone realizes it. Use the sunscreen! Their precious skin is so vulnerable, and it only takes a few moments to put on.
Sun tanned skin is still beautiful, but so is white skin! And personally, I’ve grown to appreciate my ‘fair skin’ and have learned a suntan cannot and does not make me beautiful! I just need my skin to be a little “thicker” so when the remarks come about my white skin, it just doesn’t bother me!