Are tanning beds a thing of the past? The Atlantic just penned a lengthy article asking that very question. Some evidence suggests we might finally be moving from a society obsessed with soaking up UV rays to a culture that embraces a spectrum of natural, healthy skin tones and types.
An Industry in Decline
According to the essay, the only part of the indoor tanning industry that’s thriving is the spray tan segment. Overwhelmingly, people are opting for temporary color instead of “fake and bake’s” long-lasting damage.
This might have something to do with recent, federal tanning taxes, statewide age restrictions, and an onslaught of visceral tanning PSAs. Even drug store shelves seem to be bursting with new sunscreen lines and other protectants. Needless to say, the public is finally acknowledging what we’ve known for awhile: paleness can be beautiful, too.
Tanning as a Status Symbol
So how did the whole tanning craze catch on? Well.. Coco Chanel started it all in the early 20’s after vacationing in the French Riviera. And if you’ve ever picked up a copy of Vogue, you know her influence was and is a force to be reckoned with. She changed the tanning game, and it’s been going strong ever since.
Once upon a time, fair skin meant aristocracy (which is problematic… but we digress.) Overexposure to sunlight suddenly went from being correlated with menial labor to symbolizing luxury and wealth. In order to look fancy enough for that “glamorous, vacation look,” one had to lay out.
Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a healthy tan… but some evidence suggests that a tan is rarely healthy. If bronze isn’t your natural look, you might want to think about embracing your paler shade.
So How Do You Rock Your Given Color?
Loving the skin you’re in is a process. It’s not as if you wake up one morning and all your self-consciousness and hang ups are magically cured. Be kind and patient with yourself on your journey to self acceptance.
One piece of advice? If you are going to spend time and energy on your beauty regimen, Invest in products that ensure your skin is even in tone, hydrated, and exfoliated. It’s not about changing your identity. Every shade is beautiful and unique. It’s about making sure your skin is healthy and reflects the vibrant person you are inside. (Sorry to sound so cheesy, but it’s true!)
What Your Beauty Choices Don’t Mean
Contrary to popular belief, skin bleaching doesn’t necessarily mean the person is ashamed of their color or trying to erase their ethnicity. Often, bleachers are trying to correct skin issues such as hyperpigmentation, uneven tone, and scarring. Unlike tanning, changing skin hue and texture through safe, natural bleaching products doesn’t cause skin cancer and other health risks. All beauty modification is not created equally. Some procedures and practices–like responsible bleaching–are safe, and others–like tanning–are not.
It’s time to open a dialogue and discuss beauty, cultural influences, motivation, and healthy alternatives. What’s your skin acceptance story? Share your thoughts in the comments. Stay gorgeous, friends.