Photo by Shanna Hullender Photography

"Adopting one child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will change."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Public Service Annoucement AKA Soap Box

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a guy that I went to college with and he mentioned that he was trying to quit smoking. I was sort of shocked that he smoked. Really. I just don't know many 30 somethings that smoke in year 2011. Thankfully, he has a thick skin and got a got kick out of it when I said "Smoking? I thought everyone left that behind in college!"

Same thing with tanning. I thought all my friends gave it up years ago! So what is with tanning beds in 2011? 100% UV rays, baby! We all know the dangers and the tan is usually a very unnatural shade that fades much more rapidly than that obtained in the real sun. However, day after day I see those Facebook status updates singing the joys of fake and baking it.

I personally gave up tanning beds about 7 or 8 years ago and I have not missed them for a minute. It is kind of like that smell from my last perm in junior high school. All I have to do it think of that sweaty burnt flesh smell (or start counting my scars) and suddenly that refried beans colored tan is not longer worth it.

I learned this the hard way though. I once was a sun goddess but that all changed the day that I received a frantic call from the dermatologist office about a small flat, smooth, black dot on my right thigh - it looked like a dot from a Sharpie marker. I went into the doctor's office for what I thought was a routine procedure (this was not my first place of concern to be removed). I walked out of the doctor's office that afternoon with a 3 x 4 inch rectangle cut out of my leg. Now, I sport a zipper looking scar across my leg. Sexy. My back and legs once looked like a blank canvas. Now it is discolored with sun damage and scars. According to my Dermatologist, 95% can be attributed to the tanning beds. But you know what? Mom said it would be like this but when you are young you just don't think it will happen to you.

I still tan but in the real sun with sunscreen and in moderation. Natural sunshine is healthy and provides a person with much needed vitamins and nutrients. God made the sun and intended for us to enjoy it. But like other things, I truly feel that He meant for us to use it wisely and in moderation. Plus, when you are in the real sun, you get mostly good rays and just a few bad UV rays whereas in a tanning bad the rays are 100% ultra violet(BAD, BAD, BAD). I usually start with a little self tanning cream...yeah, it isn't the best smell in the world but it does smell better than the tanning salon! Then I tan myself outside a little bit usually while working in the yard and then I maintain by using more self tanning lotion. No, it isn't the darkest tan but I'm not entering a bikini contest anytime soon so I don't suppose it really matters. I'm just shooting for healthy here.

I slather sunscreen on my little tan babies too. Because they are dark and rarely burn does not mean that their skin does not need protection too. Even with SPF 50, they get dark as little Indians. And yes, I realize that is no longer politically correct but they are part Indian and when you see how brown they get in the summer, I can only imagine that is where the saying came from! Regardless of the choices you make for yourself, as a parent you need to be putting your child in sunscreen and reapplying every few hours. I put it on my children daily during the months they spend a lot time outdoors. I keep it in my car, stashed on my front porch, back deck, a tote bag, and in a couple of my bathrooms. Sunscreen is just a way of life for us.

If you haven't, then you should schedule an appointment with a Dermatologist for a skin survey at least once a year. If you are still tanning in tanning beds, then you should go sit in the Dermatologist's office on surgery day because you will think you just stepped foot into a Tales from the Crypt movie set. Need I say more?


  1. Agreed! All these young girls going to tanning beds make me sick. They are just speeding up the process of wringles.

    I use to go in high school and regret it. I wish I was nicer to my skin.

    Now, I never go out in the sun without the highest spf I can find on. And I keep it with me so I can reapply. I like my pale skin, haha.

  2. I have never been to a tanning bed b/c skin cancer runs in my family (it seems). My mom never allowed us to tan as teens, and I understand why. I love your honesty here, Shana. It's so important that we get some sun (for vitamin D) but not too much. :)